Chile pip Guineans for gold
History was made as Chile overcame pre-tournament favourites Equatorial Guinea after a penalty shoot-out to win the inaugural Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament on Tuesday. Romina Orellana put the South Americans ahead with a 25th minute free-kick but Judit Ndong converted a spot-kick in the second half to draw the Africans level.
Both sides were level at 1-1 after regular time to force the tournament’s second penalty shoot-out, where Chile kept their cool to prevail 5-3. In the day’s earlier game, Turkey fired three unanswered goals past Iran to clinch the bronze medal.
With the gold medal at stake, the game predictably got off to a cautious start. After trading early exchanges, the battle raged in the midfield. Equatorial Guinea were reduced to long-range shots while in the opposite third, Chile only had one attempt in the opening 15 minutes. The Africans had their first real chance when Leticia Nchama Biyogo pulled her effort wide when well placed. The balance, however, was tilted in the South Americans’ favour as the half wore on, with their pressure finally paying off when Orellana scored from a free-kick.
Equatorial Guinea entered the second half desperately seeking an equaliser, but their opponents almost doubled their advantage when Javiera Roa raced into the area only to see her shot flash wide. The anxious Africans, however, had Ndong to thank when the captain converted a spot-kick to draw them level. With both sides moving forward for the winner, the battle intensified in the later stages. The Africans attacked, but left holes at the back, allowing Chile to hit them on the break. Felicidad Avomo should have put the game beyond doubt, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, she fired over. And so it was penalties. Both sides made no mistake in the first three rounds, but after Justina Alene was denied by the keeper, it was Orellana who stepped up to covert the decisive kick for the victory.
The re-match proved to be a carbon copy of their previous game, with Turkey attacking freely and Iran struggling to keep their opponents at bay. Again the Europeans got off to a good start, taking the lead inside three minutes courtesy of the set-piece skills of Hilal Baskol. With her first touch of the ball, Baskol won a free-kick at the edge of the box and the midfield dynamo blasted her effort into the top corner. Turkey continued to put pressure on the Asians and they nearly doubled the lead late in the opening half when Baskol flashed a shot just wide.
The long-awaited second goal came 11 minutes into the second half, when Dilan Akarsu slipped into the area and fired a perfectly-weighted shot into the bottom corner. At the other end, Iran were well shackled by the Europeans. Turkey, roared on by the agitated crowd, turned the remainder of the game into shooting practice, with Feride Serin making it 3-0 ten minutes from time to seal the bronze medal.
Goal of the day
It was not the first time Baskol had showcased her sublime set-piece skills - Turkey’s opening goal was the prodigy’s third from set-pieces at Singapore 2010.
5: Despite the team's loss in the final, Equtorial Guinea's attacking duo Felicidad Avomo and captain Judit Ndong netted five goals each to jointly top the tournament goalscoring charts.
"The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in our country two years ago has left with us a lasting football legacy, and winning the Youth Olympic title will come as our second major achievement in the history of our women's football." Rodrigo Valdes, Chile coach.