2017 U17 World Cup, Group Stage
  • George Acosta (24')
  • Juan Vidal (3')
  • Juan Peñaloza (67')
  • Deiber Caicedo (87')

Penaloza stars as Colombia beat USA to reach the knockouts

FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Colombia produced their best game when it mattered as they beat the United States 3-1 to qualify for the round of 16 at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, in Navi Mumbai on Thursday.

The U.S. finished third in Group A and also qualified for the knockouts as one of the four best third-placed teams of the tournament, with Ghana topping the group after beating India and Colombia taking second place.

Needing a win, Colombia scored through Juan Vidal (3rd minute), Juan Penaloza (67th) and Dieber Caicedo (87th) to seal the win, while the lone U.S. goal was scored by George Acosta in the 24th minute.

The U.S., who had earlier beaten hosts India 3-0 and Ghana 1-0, tasted their first defeat of the tournament and this was Colombia's second win after they beat India in New Delhi.

After being tied on points, goal difference and number of goals scored with the U.S., Colombia clinched the second spot in the group with a superior head-to-head record.

Colombia's opener came following a long throw-in by Andres Cifuentes inside the box found Vidal who slammed the ball into the right-corner and Colombia led in the third minute.

The U.S. came back, though, as Acosta came close soon after the goal following a fine one-two with skipper Josh Sargent. The Americans had the bulk of possession in the first 22 minutes but failed to find the equaliser.

They finally found the goal through Acosta whose stunning right-footed shot from the center of the box made it 1-1.

Both teams were aggressive as the game approached half-time. The U.S. were denied a chance to take the lead in the 37th minute after a free kick by Sargent took a deflection off the Colombian wall before going wide. At the half-way stage, the two teams were level at 1-1.

Colombia started the second half as the stronger team in attack while their defence stood firm giving no open space to the American strikers.

Columbia then came close in the 60th minute but Andres Perea's shot from outside the box was well saved by U.S. keeper Justin Garces. Seven minutes later Colombia had the lead.

A free kick from just outside the penalty area was neatly taken by Penaloza, who curled it from the left to the bottom right corner. With three minutes until full-time, Penaloza was again at the center of things providing the assist to Colombia's third goal.