Colombia cruise past hosts
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A brace by Dayana Castillo spurred Colombia onto a comfortable opening 4-0 win against hosts Azerbaijan.

Colombia were on top from the off, despite a partisan crowd roaring on the host side with Castillo getting her first on 17 minutes. Latching on to a fine through ball by Leicy Santos she fired past Aytaj Sharifova.

It only took three minutes more before she had her second, which was a thing of beauty. The influential captain ghosted in from the left before hitting an unstoppable shot off the inside of the post.

Azerbaijan looked a little more composed for the next 20 minutes, but Sharifova again had to pick the ball out of her net before half-time. Slack defending from the home side allowed Carolina Arbelaez to strike at goal, her effort was blocked but Gabriela Maldonado tapped in.

Progress was slow for either side in the second half, with Colombia adding plenty of offsides to an eventual total of 14.

Azerbaijan almost pulled one back with 25 minutes to go, Valiyeva breaking through the Colombian backline but Cardozo stood tall and was equal to it.

Their hopes of anything at all were well and truly dashed in the 73rd minute though, with Laura Aguirre pouncing on a defensive lapse to volley a bouncing ball in for 4-0. They then managed to hit the post twice and see an effort cleared off the line, but that’s how it remained.

The quote
“I want to congratulate Colombia because they earned this victory . Although it was 4-0 against us this opening game was a great occasion. U-17 football has only been alive in Azerbaijan for two years and this match was the result of all the hard work that has taken place. Although we lost the match I want to congratulate my team on the fact they fought to the end and never gave up.” Sissy Raith, Azerbaijan coach