South American dark horses Paraguay sealed their passage to the Round-of-16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a crushing 3-1 win over Turkey on the final day of Group 'B' matches at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul yesterday. La Albirroja, who already qualified for the knockouts after winning both their earlier matches against Mali (3-2) and New Zealand (4-2), now sit comfortably atop Group 'B' with nine points from three matches, while The Crescent Stars, who were in desperate need of win, have to book the next flight back home.
Paraguay's Fernando Cardozo celebrates his goal against Turkey. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Paraguay head coach Gustavo Morinigo made at least seven changes from his previous line-up with in-form Leonardo Sanchez and Alan Rodriguez on the bench. The changes did see some scratchy performances by Paraguay, who missed grabbing an early lead in the first minute itself. Blas Armoa's pace was too much for Turkey's Emirhan Civelek to keep up with, and in the bargain, fouled the brisk striker in the penalty area. The entire Turkey dugout had their hearts in their mouth when Anibal Vega stood forward to take the penalty, but Berke Ozer pulled off a brilliant save diving to his right.
Paraguay 'keeper Diego Huesca had a good day, pulling off brilliant saves from rare Turkish counter attacks. For Paraguay, their forward strike force of Armoa and Giovanni Bogado were creating problems for the Turkish defence. In his second attempt off a free-kick from just outside the penalty area, after the first sailing inches above the crossbar, Bogado found the net with a beautiful curled shot above the wall and into the left hand top corner of the goal to open Paraguay's account in the 41st minute. Two minutes later, Paraguay doubled their lead. Armoa burst from the left flank and found Fernando Cardozo, who disguised his shot with a left foot back heel hunting for a goal right in front of the Turkey goal that caught Ozer unaware. "We were lacking physically. We created chances, but lacked finishing. The goals we conceded were because of our own mistakes. They can go on to be world champions," Turkey head coach Mehmet Hacoiglu said.
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