FIFA Under-17 WC : Of clever kicks, a red card and burning calories

New Zealand captain Max Mata was booked in the 61st and 95th minutes on Friday to be shown red and will be missing in action against Paraguay - he was the only one to get sent off among the seven players with names on the score-sheet in the Mumbai leg.

Mata was booked in the 61st and 95th minutes on Friday to be shown red and will be missing in action against Paraguay on Monday - he was the only one to get sent off among the seven players with names on the score-sheet.   -  Vivek Bendre

The goal-scorers hogged the attention of their teammates on the opening day of FIFA under-17 World Cup when as many as seven shots found the back of the net.  However, the fireworks adorning the night sky over  D.Y. Patil stadium - a hallmark of the Indian Super League matches here - were nowhere to be seen with FIFA preferring a no-frills show.

On Friday evening,  the first goal came off a corner kick and the seventh off a penalty. New Zealand came up with the cleverest goal to draw level with Turkey. The referee awarded a free-kick outside the box. And taking advantage of a Turkish defensive wall, waiting for a fallen Kiwi player to get on his feet, Elijah Just tapped quickly to the left for captain Max Mata to read the move and sweep the ball in with his left, across the goalkeeper into the net.

Mata was booked in the 61st and 95th minutes on Friday to be shown red and will be missing in action against Paraguay - he was the only one to get sent off among the seven players with names on the score-sheet in the Mumbai leg.

Turkey, the Euro U-17 semifinalist, resembled soggy fireworks which fizzle out after initial sparks, as it ran out of steam in the second half on a pitch, drenched in rain.

Mail followed suit, losing the plot against Paraguay. The daredevil players from Africa scored twice after being two goals down - the equaliser from Lassana N'Diaye on his World Cup U-17 debut would have made any finisher proud.

Running onto a short pass from behind, he slipped the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Diego Huesca with his first left-footed touch.

Weight-control walk for media

FIFA devised a weight-control programme for the media, reporting Group B matches here. The media enclosure (having work stations) and press conference room (for player interactions) are located opposite each other, with the green oval pitch designed for cricket in between.

So after the 5.00 p.m. match concludes an hour and 45 minutes later, due to injury time, coach and player from both teams reach the conference room by when, the reporters are expected to take a lift down, walk around the stands, elbowing their way past fans, within 10 minutes.

The brisk walk back across the same route needs to be faster to transcribe and submit before the team sheets arrive for the night match at 8 p.m.  

Golf carts are a solution, although negotiating a path through crowds will need experienced hands. Till then, the weight-loss project continues, amidst humid conditions and sometimes through the rain at D.Y. Patil stadium on match days.

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