Chile set up Equatorial Guinea reprise
Chile and Equatorial Guinea will meet again, but this time in the final of the Girls' Youth Olympic Football Tournament Singapore 2010 following the two sides' respective semi-final victories over Turkey and Iran. On a thrilling night of football, a last-minute strike saw the South Americans edge out the brave Europeans 3-2, while the Africans ran out 4-1 winners against Iran.
The winners will now eagerly look forward to their re-match on Tuesday, while the two losing sides will cross paths in the third-place play-off on the same day.
Match of the Day
Turkey 2-3 Chile, Jalan Besar Stadium, Saturday 21 August
Goals: Hilal Baskol 37’, Dilan Ararsu 40’; Francisca Armijo 20’, Melisa Rodriguez 26’, Maria Navarrete 80+4
In a free-flowing, open battle in this inaugural Girls’ tournament, Turkey came from two goals down to draw level with Chile 2-2 before the interval. But just as the game looked on course to reach the tournament’s first penalty shoot-out, with the two sides level after 80 minutes, the South Americans grabbed the winner deep into injury time, courtesy of Maria Navarrete, to claim their place in the final.
After trading exchanges in the early periods, Turkey were the first to threaten when Hilal Baskol crashed a free-kick against the post. The tempo raised thereafter, but it was Chile that took the lead mid-way through the first half, with Francisca Armijo heading home from a corner. The Europeans responded well but the Americans went on to double their lead in the space of six minutes - Melisa Rodriguez capitalising on a goalkeeping error to head home.
Lesser sides would have been floored by the early blows, but not Turkey. Again, Baskol was at the heart of the comeback. Her sublimely-taken free-kick in the 37th minute reduced the deficit and sparked Turkey into life. Indeed, they found themselves on level terms just three minutes later when Umran Ozev cut the ball back from the goal-line and Dilan Akarsu gratefully volleyed it home.
Both sides pressed for a winner after the restart, with Baskol's free-kick only denied by the woodwork. And how the Turkish prodigy would lament that near-miss as, deep into injury-time, Navarrete picked up Orellana’s corner and finished with a powerful low shot to secure victory for Chile.
The other game
Equatorial Guinea 4-1 Iran, Jalan Besar Stadium, Saturday 21 August
Goals: Leticia Nchama Biyogo 32’, Felicidad Avomo 36’, Judit Ndong 56’, 66’; Fatemeh Ardestani 46’
Iran coach Shahrzad Mozafar was shrewd enough to employ a defensive game plan against a formidable Equatorial Guinea side. With the majority of Iranians behind the ball, the free-attacking Africans were restricted to long balls in the opening periods. The Asians did whatever they could to keep their adventurous opponents at bay but, with tournament top-scorer Avomo gradually rediscovering her form, it was only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.
The opening goal came on the half-hour mark when the ferocious No9 rattled the post with a low shot and Leticia Nchama Biyogo was able to nudge the rebound into the net. Avomo then doubled the lead just seven minutes later, slotting the ball home to take her goal tally to five. Left with no option other than to attack, Iran pulled one back courtesy of an opportunistic goal by Fatemeh Ardestani. Any hopes of a comeback, however, lasted just ten minutes as Judit Ndong restored Equatorial Guinea's two-goal cushion from the penalty spot. The captain went on to complete a brace in the 66th minute and seal another wonderful victory.
Goal of the day
Having scored through a free-kick in their last game, Baskol cemented her reputation as one of the tournament's set-piece specialists by firing a free-kick past the goalkeeper from 30 yards out.
"For so long we had been waiting for this match and we just wanted to return home as champions. Despite trailing behind by two goals, we rallied to come back to draw level, so it was very hard to lose the game this way." Hilal Baskol, Turkey midfielder