THE DAY REPLAYED - Following the host nation's emphatic 4-1 opening-day defeat of Trinidad and Tobago, the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 got into full swing on Friday as the first round of games in Groups A and B were completed.
Paraguay and Italy got the ball rolling with a cagey goalless draw at the Cairo International Stadium, a result that suited section rivals Egypt down to the ground. The action continued in the Egyptian capital, with Venezuela causing the first upset of the competition as they overcame African heavyweights Nigeria 1-0 at the Al Salam Stadium. And in the final match of the day, Spain enjoyed a goal feast against tournament minnows Tahiti.
Click on the links on the right for full reports on all the day's games.
Two goals to the good with barely 15 minutes gone, Luis Milla's side were warming to their task against the Oceanian representatives. Collecting the ball on the halfway line, Marcos Gullon sent a cross-field pass to Aaron Niguez. The Celta Vigo man brought the ball down with his right instep and, with the outside of his boot, set Nsue up for a sweetly struck half-volleyed finish.
Tears of joy for Venezuela: After qualifying in fourth place at the South American U-20 Championship, Venezuela came to Egypt with relatively modest ambitions. However, after an absence of 29 years from FIFA competitions, they made a successful return to the international stage, all of which proved too much for the Vinotinto fans looking on from the stands. Tears greeted the Venezuelan national anthem at the start of the game, and the supporters were weeping once more when Yonathan Del Valle scored the only goal of the game, and again when the final whistle sounded.
Garlands and goals: Tahitian tradition dictates that visitors are presented with a garland of flowers as soon as they set foot on the island. Though miles away from home, Lionel Charbonnier's debutants performed the gesture for their respectful Spanish opponents just before the kick-off. All the rank outsiders got in return, however, was a footballing lesson from one of the tournament favourites.
0 - The number of goals Nigeria have scored in the competition in matches where they have had a player sent off. In those seven games, the Flying Eagles have received eight red cards and conceded four goals in all, the latest one coming today after Lukman Haruna's dismissal. The defeat to Venezuela was Nigeria's seventh in eight meetings with South American opposition, the other game ending in a draw.
"Great Match!! Provided for way more excitement than Italy and Paraguay. Tough luck for the Nigerians. Hope to see you guys bounce back," guerrero3722 (USA) on Nigeria's 1-0 defeat to Venezuela.
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