El Salvador have beaten Australia 2-1 for their first-ever win at an 11-a-side FIFA competition and, in doing so, given themselves a great chance of qualifying from Group C at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Diego Coca and Jose Pena grabbed the all-important goals as the Central American underdogs stunned the Young Socceroos at Rize’s Yeni Sehir Stadium.
An enthralling match began in fittingly spectacular style, with Joshua Brillante firing Australia in front after nine minutes with a brilliant strike, drilled low inside the left-hand post from 25 yards. Few, however, would have predicted what would follow.
El Salvador had never scored before at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but all that would change just eight minutes later when Diego Coca became the man to make history. Jairo Henriquez delivered a fine, deep cross from the right and when Kevin Barahona headed back across goal, there was Coca to nod home from close range and spark joyful scenes.
Australia attempted to regain their composure but remained vulnerable at the back and, having scored their first goal at this tournament, El Salvador duly added a second five minutes before half-time. Jose Pena was the goalscorer, lunging in to prod the ball into the net, but much of the credit went to winger Miguel Ochoa for his purposeful run and inviting low cross.
The Central Americans were now eyeing the biggest upset of the tournament thus far and gave a demonstration of their growing confidence right at the start of the second half. That was when Tomas Granitto provided their most audacious effort seen at Turkey 2013, attempting to score direct from the kick-off and missing the target by a matter of inches. They also proved solid in defence, restricting Australia to a couple of half-chances throughout the remainder of the match, neither of which were capitalised upon.
El Salvador now sit second in Group C ahead of Turkey’s match with Colombia later this evening, while the Young Socceroos must hope for three points against the hosts on Friday if they are to have any chance of qualifying.