In a fascinating clash between Europe and South America, Colombia proved themselves to have that little extra bit of class to beat the Netherlands 2-1 and go joint top of Group C at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009 after one match. The Cafeteros opened the scoring through Fabian Castillo and, after the determined Dutch equalised from the spot, the outstanding Deiner Cordoba sealed the deal late in the second half.
The Netherlands, runners-up in European qualifying, looked extremely organised in the first half. They carved out their first dangerous chance after only four minutes when Luc Castaignos broke through to the byline and pulled back across the face of goal for Oguzhan Ozyakup, who could only slice his tame side-footer wide of the post.
The South Americans, technically gifted and strong on the ball, slowly began to work their way into the contest, though, and on 29 minutes Cordoba saw his close-range effort desperately cleared off the line by Zakaria Labyad when a goal seemed a certainty. Again, with just seconds to go, Labyad once more deflected a powerful close-range Colombia volley from going in.
The Colombians continued to pour on the pressure at the start of the second half, and it only took them ten minutes to make the crucial breakthrough. Wilson Cuero put on a display of dazzling footwork near the corner flag before crossing dangerously. The Dutch defence, unable to deal with the threat, could only watch as Fabian Castillo - one of four players in the side from Deportivo Cali - chested the ball down and stroked home expertly from 12 yards.
The Dutch roared back, however, and after the speedy Ola John was hauled down in the area in the 69th minute, Captain Ozyakup stepped up to do the honours from the spot. He made no mistake to draw the sides level at 1-1. But parity lasted only two minutes as the Colombians re-took the lead through Cordoba. Some clever approach work by Wilson Cuero set up the Millonarios, man who hit his deflected shot home from close in.
Colombia will tangle with Iran, who won their first game earlier in the day, in their next match on 28 October, while the Netherlands take on a talented Gambian outfit missing two players through suspension.