With both sides hunting their first-ever wins at a FIFA U-17 World Cup, Austria and Canada both had to settle for a 2-2 draw. The Europeans took the lead early in a tense Group E contest at the Sheikh Rashid Stadium in Dubai, but the Canadians roared back before seeing their dreams dashed with an equaliser.
The Canucks came out sharply in the first-half, showing good organisation and a desire to get forward in attack. Jordan Hamilton’s free-kick from just outside of the box was blocked by the wall after only five minutes, and shorty after Marco Bustos rushed inside the box only to have his shot saved brilliantly by Alexander Schlager.
The Austrians managed to hit back just a minute after that try, but Valentin Lazaro’s low shot from distance was easily saved by Marco Carducci in the Canadian goal. Slowly but surely, the Austrians climbed back into the match and they got a well-deserved goal after 28 minutes. Sascha Horvath slammed a volley home from a throw-in, the ball gliding in just under the crossbar.
The lead was almost doubled just a minute later in a similar pattern. This time the throw-in came from the right side and Daniel Ripic rasped his shot against the base of the post. The Canadians mustered a response in the fading moments of the first period, but Hanson Boakai was shut down on his breakaway by Austrian keeper Schlager, who pulled off a fine save.
Canada responded admirably at the start of the second-half and they had drawn level and then taken the lead inside 15 minutes. Hamilton swiveled and hit home after 53 minutes and then Elias Roubos slotted home from the spot in the 58th. The Canadians were in dreamland, chasing their first-ever win at U-17 level, but the Austrians had other ideas. Nikola Zivotic drew level at 2-2 with a stunning bicycle-kick just after the hour mark.
And that’s where it stayed to the end, as neither side were able to pick up their first wins at a U-17 world finals. Up next for Canada is a meeting with Iran on 22 October while Austria meet Group E favourites Argentina.