FIFA U-17 WC: Fluent Spain marches into second round

The fast improving European champion gave another display of attacking football and threw to shreds the dogged resistance offered by North Korea.

Spain’s Mohamed Moukhliss (right) was one of the goal-scorers on Friday.   -  H. Vibhu

Spain marched into the second round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup after registering a 2-0 win over North Korea at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Friday.

The fast improving European champion gave another display of attacking football and threw to shreds the dogged resistance offered by North Korea. The scoreline betrays the actual dominance of the Spanish side. The crossbar and post came in the way of what would have been at least three Spanish goals.

Match Centre

From the start, Spain purred like well oiled machine with its wingers providing the momentum. Ferran Torres on the right and Sergio Gomez on the left were arrowing in crosses to strikers at will. North Korean defence came under duress very early.

Signs were ominous for Koreans when Cesar Gelabert shot out from close in the third minute. The miss didn’t prove to be costly as Spain went ahead in the very next minute when Mohamed Moukhlis tapped in a precise cross from Gelabert.

Unlucky misses

Despite the Koreans parking themselves inside their half, Spain found ways and means to create fissures in the defence. The first of Spain’s unlucky misses came in the 30th minute when Juan Miranda’s header hit the post following a penalty corner taken by Sergio Gomez. In the 34th minute Abel Ruiz deftly back-heeled for Cesar to take a first timer. However, the shot at the far post missed the mark narrowly. Torres was unfortunate as his left-footed shot from close rebounded off the post in the 41st minute.

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The Spanish surge continued in the second half, too. The famed North Korean counterattack came in trickles. However, the stray moves which the Koreans managed were snuffed out by the alert Spanish defence. The first genuine chance for Spain in the second half came in the 58th minute when Juan Miranda drilled a low shot from the left flank only for the ball to hit the post and bounce back into play.

The sustained aggression from Spain bore fruit in the 71st minute. Substitute Jose Lara bore his way down the left flank and entered the box; his shot rebounded off a Korean defender and came to unmarked Gelabert who tapped in from close. It capped a fine day for the Gelabert.

Result: Spain 2 (Mohamed Moukhliss 4, Cesar Gelabert 71) beat North Korea 0.

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