x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Argentina hold off Ivory Coast’s late challenge to reach semi-finals

Argentina maintained their hopes of a first Fifa Under 17 World Cup title after quelling a late rally by Ivory Coast to advance to the semi-finals.

Rodrigo Moreira, left, and his Argentine teammates celebrate moving into the semi-finals at the Fifa Under 17 World Cup with a victory over Ivory Coast. EPA
Rodrigo Moreira, left, and his Argentine teammates celebrate moving into the semi-finals at the Fifa Under 17 World Cup with a victory over Ivory Coast. EPA

ARGENTINA 2 IVORY COAST 1

Argentina: Ibanez 6’, Moreira 33’

Ivory Coast: Kessie 78’

Man of the match: Joaquin Ibanez (Argentina)

SHARJAH // Argentina maintained their hopes of a first Fifa Under 17 World Cup title after quelling a late rally by Ivory Coast to advance to the semi-finals.

The South Americans were ahead after just six minutes when Joaquin Ibanez, the roving wing-back, escaped his marker at the far post and coolly finished under the body of goalkeeper Seck Diabagate.

The African side actually controlled most of the possession and had the majority of attempts on goal in the first half.

However, they failed to unduly worry Augusto Batalla, the goalkeeper and captain for Argentina, and the arrears were soon doubled.

On 33 minutes Ivory Coast made a hash of attempting to clear a corner and an unopposed Rodrigo Moreira bundled in Argentina’s second.

The Argentines appeared to be in complete control until the concession of a harsh penalty with 12 minutes left.

Leandro Vega was adjudged to have handled when he appeared to be defending himself against a cross, and Frank Kessie, the Ivorian captain, despatched the spot kick.

Kessie was at the centre of the late siege, but the Argentines, who are chasing a first title at this level in 11 attempts, were able to resist to seal a place in the last four.

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE