Colombia kept up their late dramatics here at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009, equalising against Turkey in the dying seconds of their quarter-final in Bauchi and winning out on penalties after a scoreless extra-time session remained balanced at 1-1. After coming back from a two-goal deficit to beat Argentina in the Round of 16, Colombia have firmly established themselves as the masters of the late show ahead of a semi-final date with Switzerland
After a desultory opening ten minutes, the Colombians had the first real chance when the livewire Fabian Castillo wriggled his way into the right side of the box and forced Turkey's England-based goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet into a fine sliding save. From there on out though, it was the Europeans who controlled the pace and nature of proceedings. And the Turks took a well-deserved lead after 20 minutes when a well-lofted free-kick from Enjin Bekdemir flew dangerously into the Colombian penalty area and was met by the unmarked Muhammet Demir, who headed home his third goal of these finals from eight yards out.
They kept up the pressure after opening the scoring, too, with Demir - who admits wanting to finish Nigeria 2009 as top scorer - looking in the mood for more. After 20 minutes, the Bursaspor striker finished off some fine individual work in the middle of the park with a laser-beam strike that just slipped wide of the far post. Castillo had a chance to level for the Cafeteros in the dying moments of the opening period, but Nurretin Kayaoglu managed to charge down the effort.
Both sides seemed to lose their shape in the early moments of the second half, and it took 17 minutes before the first real half-chance materialised. Carlos Robles' overhead kick never really had Mehmet worried, and he was subbed out straight away and replaced by Jean Blanco. The new man - hero off the bench in the win over Argentina - nearly scored with his first touch, only to be denied at the last by the Turkish goalkeeper. In the 66th minute, the keeper had to be alert again, saving a straightforward free-kick from Jeison Murillo as the Colombians began to turn the screws.
The Turks continued to look dangerous on set pieces, but were putting precious little together from the run of play. Up the other end, the Colombians nearly drew level in the 81st minute, but Murillo's close-range header was well saved by Mehmet. Heavy pressure from the South Americans in the last ten minutes of the game finally paid dividends and brought an equaliser. A long ball up through the middle was met by the head of Jorge Luis Ramos, who popped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net in the 90th minute.
The Colombians, buoyed by their late goal, were in charge from the outset of the extra-time session. But it was Turkey's Ufuk Ozbek who had the best chance of the first 15, with a shot from 18 yards that was gathered well by Cristian Bonilla. There were hardly any meaningful attacks in the second period and the contest needed to be decided by a penalty shootout. Furkan Seker was first to miss for the Turks, and the Colombians took full advantage, scoring all five of their spot kicks to win out.
Colombia now move on to the semi-final stage of Nigeria 2009, where they will meet the winner of the last-eight contest between Switzerland and Italy. Turkey, for their part, are heading for home after an impressive display in west Africa.