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U-20 World Cup Roundup: Ghana draw, Mali win, and Senegal and Nigeria lose
The first round of games in the 2015 U-20 World Cup, held in New Zealand, brought mixed results for the participating African teams.
Ghana were the first of the four teams to play, and they were up against Austria in the second Group B encounter. Bernd Gschweidl opened the scoring for the Europeans in the 50th minute with a finish from close range. Just as the game was drawing to a close, and it seemed Austria would pick up their first 3 points of the tournament, Ghana were awarded a 90th-minute penalty which Yaw Yeboah duly dispatched to make it 1-1 and clinch a point for his side.
The following day, Mexico’s highly-rated youngsters faced the promising Malians in a match that the CONCACAF side were expected to win. However, El Tri were shown two red cards in quick succession – after Mali had one of their own players sent off – just after the hour mark and the West Africans made the most of their numerical advantage, scoring in the 76th and 79th minute to seal a 0-2 win and the three points.
Elsewhere, Senegal lost 3-0 to Portugal in a peculiar match which saw the Portuguese score once in the opening minute and twice in stoppage time. The fact that the Lions of Teranga managed to keep a clean sheet for over 88 minutes of play will have left many wondering what could have been had they been more focused at the very start and very end of the game.
Finally, Nigeria lost 2-4 to Brazil in a high-scoring and entertaining affair which saw Nigeria concede in the fourth minute and storm back with two goals to take the lead midway through the first half. Nevertheless, the Super Eagles succumbed to the South Americans’ skill and conceded a further three goals, two of which were scored by Cruzeiro starlet Judivan.