Bright starts for Turkey and Chile
Fans from across the world were treated to an enthralling opening matchday of the Girls Youth Olympic Football Tournament on Thursday as Turkey and Chile opened with victories over Iran and Trinidad and Tobago respectively. The Europeans came from one goal down to beat Iran 4-2 and go to the top of Group A while the South Americans underlined their status as pre-tournament favourites by edging out their resilient rivals 1-0.
Iran’s hopes of an opening win were abruptly ended when Turkey scored twice late to complete a memorable comeback victory. The Iranians were the first to attack but it was the Turks that took the upper hand on the scoresheet. It didn’t take the Europeans too long to turn their early dominance into a goal when Eda Karatas fired a rocket home from 25 yards out. Their lead, however, lasted just seven minutes as Eda Duran gifted Iran an own-goal. Inspired by the unexpected good fortune, the Iranians went on to take the lead when Shahin Aflaki’s swinging free-kick flew past Hulya Cin on the quarter-hour mark. Just as Iran looked on course to turn their lead into a win, the tide turned. Turkey leveled by way of another own goal. Feride Serin then restored the Turkish lead with ten minutes to go before Kubra Aydin put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
In a match between two of the tournament’s best-organised sides, a tentative start was always on the cards. But the battle intensified midway through the opening half with the first chance falling to Chile as Romina Orellana tested the goalkeeper with a dipping shot. The South Americans could have taken the lead when Montserrat Grau took advantage of a defensive error, but the Chile captain failed to put her shot on target. Armijo had a golden chance just before the break when she sneaked into the area unmarked but with only the goalkeeper to beat, she shot just over. Up the other end, Trinidad and Tobago’s lanky forward Marlique Asson rippled the side-netting before cutting into the area only to see her shot graze the near post. Chile came forward hard after restart with both Armijo and Javiera Roa both going close to scoring. Their efforts eventually paid off when substitute Melisa Rodriguez’s last-minute strike yielded the winning goal.
Goal of the Day
Iran gained control of the ball in the middle of the park and their incisive countre-attack was completed by Aynaz Fallah, whose powerful shot took a wicked deflection off Busra Ozturk and past the keeper for an own-goal.
“We entered the Iran match believing we could win the opener and despite conceding two quick goals we never lose our confidence. We went on the offensive and our efforts paid dividends in the end.” Turkey forward Feride Serin
“It was a hard opening game but I am happy we won. It was our relentless effort and team work that carried us through.” Chile captain Montserrat Grau