dimanche, 19 novembre 2017
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Spain made a strong statement of intent as it brought its stuttering campaign back on track with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Niger in a Group D match of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Tuesday.

Captain Abel Ruiz was in the forefront of Spain’s domineering show with a brace (21st and 41st) while Cesar Gelabert added an injury time goal to deflate Niger in the first half. Sergio Gomez scored the fourth in the 82nd minute to complete the tally.

Brazil booked its place in the next round with a 2-0 win over North Korea. After a goalless first half , Brazil struck twice in five minutes through Lincoln (56) and Paulinho (61) to record its second consecutive win in the tournament.

Spanish coach Santiago Denia made three changes to the squad and adopted a 4-2-4 formation at the start.

Juan Miranda worked his way down the left flank to create chances for strikers while Gelabert dropped back to assist Ferrran Torres in the midfield.

Ruiz induced a good save from Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali in the 10th minute as Spain had the first look at the rival goal.

But more than the quality of Juan Miranda’s cross, it was a defensive error by Niger that paved way for Spain’s opening goal. Juan tore down the left flank and crossed the ball past three Niger defenders, who did little to stop it from reaching Ruiz and for him to tap it in from close.

Niger fought gamely but its attempts in front of the Spanish goal were feeble and the best chance came in the 37th minute when Ibrahim Boubacer headed straight into goalkeeper’ Alvaro Fernandez’s body after a high ball from Ibrahim Namata.

Spain added the second in the 41st minute through a cleverly taken free-kick. Sergio Gomez, instead of floating the ball over the wall, pushed it along the ground to Ruiz whose first-timer rebounded off the wall. The striker latched on to the rebound and flicked the ball in.

Gelabert booted in the third goal in injury time.

But profligacy and bad luck prevented it from increasing the lead until Gomez found the net.

The results: Spain 4 (Abel Ruiz 21, 41, Cesar Gelabert 46, Sergio Gomez 82) bt Niger 0.

Brazil 2 (Lincoln 56, Paulinho 61 ) bt North Korea 0.

M.R. Praveen CHANDRAN (The Hindus)

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