FIFA U-17 World Cup: Weah Hat-trick Helps USA Power Past Paraguay
A brilliant hat-trick from Tim Weah along with goals from Josh Sargent and Andrew Carleton saw USA beat Paraguay 5-0 in their Round of 16 clash at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Weah in action against Paraguay. (Twitter/FIFA)
New Delhi: A brilliant hat-trick from Tim Weah along with goals from Josh Sargent and Andrew Carleton saw USA beat Paraguay 5-0 in their Round of 16 clash at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Paraguay and USA were both expected to come out firing on all cylinders and take the game to each other. Neither side disappointed as they went all out in search of the early goal.
Along expected lines, both sides had chances in the first few minutes to break the deadlock, but good organisation at the back meant the game was played in front of the back four on either end. Paraguay came closest to getting the opening goal as Alan Rodriguez forced Justin Garces into a sharp low save at his near post.
The otherwise free scoring South Americans found it hard to get their act going in the final third as their passes were not meeting the intended targets.
The third placed team from Group A, who returned to the national capital with happy memories from the first round, were definitely more at ease with the conditions. That coupled with the crowd cheering for them was only an added advantage.
Close to half way through the first half, a swift counter-attack saw Ayo Akinola, free on the right and he whipped in a low cross for Tim Weah, who calmly slotted home his first goal of the tournament before reeling off in celebration.
Alexis Duarte’s side were of course not going to give up and Braian Ojeda almost caught James Sands and co. napping. The Number 6 made space and took aim, but unfortunately didn’t have the accuracy to cause any trouble.
It was just what the doctor ordered for John Hackworth’s side as they buckled down and held forte at the back. With both Paraguayan strikers Antonio Galeano and Fernando Cardozo being kept silent, Rodriguez had another shy at goal, which sailed over the goal.
USA were looking to increase their advantage before the break, but Chris Goslin’s free-kick came off the crossbar before Akinola saw his effort saved on the line.
The Josh Sargent led USA continued in the same vein once the second half kicked off, and in ten minutes time Diego Huesca was beaten again.
Tim Weah more than made up for his having under-performed in previous games as he cut in on his right foot curled it in at ferocious pace to double the lead for his team with an outstanding effort from outside the penalty box.
Hackworth’s side had Paraguay where they wanted them – demoralised and out of ideas. The veterans of this event, weren’t done yet, as a well worked move down the right saw Sargent set it up nicely for Andrew Carleton to deliver the killer blow.
The same combination was at work once soon again as Carleton turned provider for Sargent who whacked it in of the crossbar to give the North American nation a 4-goal lead.
Guastavo Morinigo’s side were down and knocked out, and Carleton helped an unmarked Weah complete his hat-trick and the rout that Paraguay did not see coming their way.
USA led by Josh Sargent on the day not only provided the 30,000 plus crowd an entertaining game of football as the World Cup bid farewell to New Delhi, but also made a strong statement with a clinical performance in city they have enjoyed.
The USA who are the second team to qualify for the quarter-finals in this tournament, will face the winner England and Japan in the next round.
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