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Ukraine wins U-20 World Cup behind Supriaha brace (video)

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Vladyslav Supriaha scored goals in each half as Ukraine overcame an early penalty to beat South Korea 3-1 and win the U-20 World Cup in Poland.

The Dynamo Kiev 19-year-old was kept off the scoreboard for most of the tournament, with Danylo Sikan scoring four times to pace the champions to the final. Ukraine beat the U.S. in the first match of the group stage.

Fellow Dynamo Kiev teen Heorhiy Tsitaishvili, 18, scored a magnificent solo goal to put the win on ice with two minutes to go in regulation.

It was South Korea who took the early lead on a VAR-given penalty following a foul on the very edge of the box.

But Supriaha turned and slotted a fine finish home before the break, then scored the below winner early in the second frame.

Amazingly, though, the play of the day was a save from Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin off a bullet header in the 70th minute. Lunin has already been capped three times by the senior team.

Ecuador tops Italy to secure third place in U-20 World Cup

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A lackluster regular time in Gdynia gave way to an excitingly open  extra time as Ecuador secured third place in the 2019 U-20 World Cup.

Just five combined shots found the target through normal time as no goals were scored, but with tired legs the extra-time period was end-to-end and Ecuador capitalized.

First, Italy had a chance to go in front but were wasteful all day and the 95th moment was no exception. Marco Olivieri drew the foul on the edge of the penalty area and stepped up to take the spot-kick, but he was denied by Wellington Ramirez on his penalty. Olivieri’s woes nearly compounded minutes later as he was shown a red card for a bad tackle but VAR reduced the punishment to a yellow.

Richard Mina was then the hero of the hour for Ecuador, scoring in the 104th minute on a set-piece delivered by Diego Palacios and headed on by Olivieri who attempted to clear but only sent it right to the feet of Mina for the poke.

Italy pressed hard for an equalizer after the short extra-time break but they remained wasteful as Luca Ranieri scuffed a great chance in the 117th minute. Italy threw men forward but were out of gas and Ecuador held most of the meaningful possession down the stretch. All told, both sides were wasteful, with just nine shots on target for 31 total efforts, with Italy managing just two on net.

The finish for Italy is disappointing, but still notable to follow up their third-place result two years ago. For Ecuador, the result is even more groundbreaking, marking their best finish in a U-20 World Cup ever, with the previous high only a pair of Round of 16 appearances, most recently in 2011. Ukraine and South Korea will vie for the U-20 World Cup title on Tuesday.

Wild match sees South Korea into U-20 World Cup semis on penalties

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A absolutely wild one in Bielsko-Biala saw both Senegal and South Korea complete unlikely comebacks, and eventually South Korea secured a place in the U-20 World Cup semifinals on penalties after a 3-3 draw, marking the last side to earn a place in the final four.

South Korea trailed 2-1 at the death, but scored a 98th minute equalizer to send the game to extra time before taking the lead six minutes into the added period. Needing a lifeline, Senegal pushed and pushed the whole added period before finding the necessary moment with almost the last kick of the game as Amadou Cisse tied it up in stoppage time to send the game to penalties. The Asian nation required another comeback in the shootout, falling behind 2-0 but eventually advancing on Cavin Diagne’s miss.

Diagne roofed one in the 37th minute to put Senegal up 1-0 at the halftime break, but South Korea fought back to level it up just past the half-hour mark as VAR awarded a penalty and Kang-In Lee delivered from the spot with a powerful low drive. Korea matched Senegal’s intensity, owning 55% possession and equaling the African nation’s shot total 9-9, but the level score would not last.

In the 72nd minute, VAR was required again as a handball by Lee Jae-Ik was eventually given as a penalty for Senegal. While South Korean goalkeeper Lee Gwang-Yeon saved Ibrahima Niane’s first attempt low to his left, the referee whistled for the penalty to be retaken after VAR confirmed South Korean players entered the area early. Niane scored with his second opportunity, putting Senegal ahead.

It seemed Senegal had put the game away in the 85th minute, but Ousseynou Niang’s goal was ruled out for a handball in the box by a teammate. That kept the game in doubt, and South Korea would deliver eight minutes deep into stoppage time as Ji-Sol Lee met a corner with his head and redirected it in off the underside of the crossbar.

That brought the game to extra-time, and the Asian side would emerge victorious with a winning moment in the 96th minute from Young-Wook Cho who finished first-time on a delightful feed through the Senegal back line from Lee Kang-In. The break was vicious and left the Senegal players hanging their heads staring down their first defeat of the tournament, but they would eventually earn the equalizer on a poke by Cisse who slid to meet a cross near the top of the box, tucking his shot perfectly inside the far post.

In the ensuing shootout, South Korea fell behind off the bat as Kim Jung-Min’s effort came off the inside of the post and agonizingly bounded parallel to the goal mouth and out. The next South Korean taker Cho Young-Wook saw his effort saved, but in fitting fashion for this game, they would come back to level the shootout when Amadou Ndiaye’s weak effort was stopped by a diving Lee Gwang-Yeon. In the fifth and final round of penalties, Dialy Ndiaye saved again, but was yellow-carded for coming off his line and the re-take was buried by Oh Se-Hun. That left Diagne with a do-or-die effort and he missed wide, giving South Korea the victory.

U-20 World Cup: Ukraine keeps chugging, Italy downs Mali

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Ukraine and Italy confirmed places in the 2019 U-20 World Cup semifinals with impressive victories over skillful Colombia and Mali sides on Friday.

Danylo Sikan scored the game’s only goal 11 minutes in as Ukraine topped Colombia 1-0 to remain unbeaten in the competition and become the first semifinalist of the tournament. The strike came on an ugly error in judgement by Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier who came way out of the box to play a long ball over the top, but with Colombia center-back Carlos Cuesta slow to react and Mier late to arrive, Sikan won the contest outside the box and poked the ball into the empty net.

Colombia looked for an equalizer but it never came, holding 63% possession and popping off 11 shots, but only one of those efforts found the target. With seven minutes remaining, Colombia fell down to 10 men as substitute Johan Carbonero was harshly sent off for a challenge on Dynamo Kiev youth product Denys Popov.

Italy, meanwhile, moved on as well thanks to a wild 4-2 victory over 10-man Mali on a brace from Andrea Pinamonti that twice gave Italy the lead, including the winner from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute. The European side went in front just 12 minutes in on an awful own-goal by Ibrahima Kone who kicked an Italy corner into the back of his own net right on the doorstep under very little pressure.

Mali fell down a man in the 21st minute when Ousmane Diakite, who plays in the Austrian second tier, went in studs up on Gianluca Scamacca with a nasty follow-through. That left Mali with a mountain to climb, but they would manage to stick right with the Italians through the final minutes. The first equalizer came via Seikou Keita before halftime on a wonderful back-heel delivery from Kone.

Pinamonti would give Italy its second lead in the 60th minute, latching onto a deflected shot and finishing from an absurdly tight angle almost standing on the end line. Now down 2-1 with a half-hour left, Mali would not quit, drawing level at 2-2 with 11 minutes to go when substitute Boubacar Traore roasted Davide Bettella which set up a two-on-two break, and Traore fed Mohamed Camara for the finish on the doorstep.

That’s when the wheels fell off for Mali and Italy took control. Just four minutes after Mali’s late equalizer, Pinamonti was felled by Mali goalkeeper Youssouf Koita and earned a penalty, dispatching it for the lead. Just a minute later, Davide Fratessi confirmed the victory with a bullet long-range header on a perfect looping cross from Raoul Bellanova to make it 4-2.

Koita had a chance to make it 4-3 deep in stoppage time, but his 94th minute penalty was saved by Alessandro Plizzari before he fired a chance wide on the ensuing corner with the last kick of the game.

The two European sides will meet in the first semifinal set for Tuesday in Lublin. The other semifinal will take place on Wednesday between the winners of quarterfinal matchups United States vs. Ecuador and South Korea vs. Senegal, both to be determined tomorrow.

U-20 World Cup roundup: Quarterfinalists set, ranked

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The United States’ stunning come back to topple favorites France at the U-20 World Cup in Poland was followed up by the battle for the eighth quarterfinalist slot.

It took penalty kicks, as Mali and Argentina staged a thriller of their own that sat 2-2 after 120 minutes.

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Aboudlaye Diaby had a wild day, scoring an equalizer in regulation before conceding an own goal in the first minute of extra time and then scoring in penalty kicks as Mali clinched a spot in the final eight.

Insanity.

So who is going to win this thing, especially with France now out of the mix?

8) Ecuador — By putting them here, we’re assuring that La Tricolor will upset the Americans in the next round.

7) South Korea — The only team left from its group, they face a match-up problem with quarterfinal opponent Senegal.

6) Colombia — The wild card of the quarterfinalists, it’s difficult to have a read on Los Cafeteros other than to say its win over the hosts on Day One is laudable.

5) Mali — It may look insane to have Mali so low, given how exciting their matches have been and their taking of France to the wire, but nine goals allowed in four matches isn’t promising much.

4) United States — It’s just as easy to argue they can win the tournament than it is to say the Baby Yanks will bow out against Ecuador.

3) Ukraine — Still relatively untested after waxing Panama, but has to sit above the Baby Yanks after beating them in the group stage.

2) Senegal — Unbeaten with a pair of clean sheets on their record, the Senegalese are in the better part of the bracket when it comes to seeking the title.

  1. Italy — Vintage, tactical Italy has allowed one goal through four matches while averaging a single goal per game. Next up is a Mali team who’s shown an ability to be easily opened up by nearly every attack on the schedule.