Chile opened up their FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015 campaign on home soil against Croatia as both teams walked away with a point apiece at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago on Saturday night after a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
Chile were forced to make a substitution very early on after Fabian Manilla picked up an unfortunate injury and on the ensuing free-kick, Croatia scored the opening goal in a flurry of activity in the area. Croatia’s set-piece, a routine straight from the training ground, was cleared out to the top of the box and Croatia captain Nikola Moro’s somewhat awkward jumping kick managed to loop over goalkeeper Zacarias Lopez, who was caught in no-man’s land, and into the back of the net.
That goal got the large Chilean crowd into the match, and the hosts responded well to the noise and pressed hard for an equaliser. After several quality spells of possession, Yerko Levia found an equaliser for the hosts. The No8 finished off a quick counter-attack and he accurately fired his shot into the side netting of Adrian Semper’s goal.
It was a deserved equaliser as the hosts controlled most of the match, particularly the opening stages of the second half the ball was locked in Croatia’s half. However, a winner was never found and the hosts’ backline was tested on a few occasions in the closing minutes as Croatia also searched for the go-ahead goal.
With both teams taking a point apiece from their opening match, all attention in Group A turns to Tuesday and the next round of games in Vina del Mar.