New Zealand and Burkina Faso played out a drama-charged 1-1 draw in a match that was halted following a tremendous downpour. The pair matched up in a first-ever meeting at any age level and the contest was crucial for both sides with the Kiwis having drawn against Costa Rica in their opener, while Burkina Faso had been defeated by Turkey.
The match started with the Africans playing in an emphatic and confident manner with the Young All Whites barely able to get a touch on the ball. In the opening stages, the tournament's youngest player Bertrand Traore nearly scored a fortunate goal, after the 14-year-old hit a weak effort from an acute angle which was fumbled by goalkeeper Coey Turipa perilously close to the goal-line.
Soon after, Victor Nikiema dispossessed New Zealand captain Gordon Murie just outside the penalty area and the midfielder sent a rasping, unstoppable drive past Turipa. Midway through the first half the other Traore, Aboubacar, blazed over the bar when presented with an excellent opportunity to score from near the penalty spot. Despite the early pace slowing, New Zealand struggled to keep possession or make inroads into opposition territory, as reflected in the half-time statistics which detailed Burkina Faso as having 68 per cent of play.
Early in the second half, light rain started to fall cooling the players from the warm temperatures. The change in weather coincided with a change in fortunes for the New Zealanders, who, having not troubled goalkeeper Germain Sanou all match, found an equaliser from nowhere. Zane Sole's free-kick from the right was met with a glancing header from Murie. The bulging of the net was a welcome sight for the Young All Whites, and especially for skipper Murie who had been caught out for the first goal. By the time the equaliser was scored the rain had become torrential, turning the match into a lottery with the ball catching in large pools of water that had accumulated on the surface.
The incredible downpour necessitated a break of one hour and 45 minutes in order to clear the pitch of water. Upon the resumption at the 63rd-minute mark, New Zealand introduced a second striker in Tim Pilkington as they went in search of three points.
Ten minutes after the restart came a spectacular moment of inspiration as Burkina Faso striker Abdoulaye Ibrango unleashed a remarkable overhead effort from distance that Turipa was forced to tip over. Soon after Fadil Sido broke clear of the defence only to hit the post as New Zealand lived dangerously. Burkina Faso upped the ante in the dying minutes but could not find a way to break down a resolute New Zealand defence.