Yasser Asprilla and an enlightened Oscar Cortes crowned a promising partnership, striker Tomás Ángel sharpened his aim and an insatiable Colombia crushed Slovakia 5-1 on Wednesday to qualify for the quarterfinals in the U20 World Cup in Argentina. Cortés unblocked the game at the start of the second half and crowned a double in the last breath to confirm himself as one of the figures of the tournament, joined Asprilla to tear apart the Slovakian defense, and the nine coffee that started the tournament as a substitute scored another double in an exhibition of the Colombians, that mark the victorious step of the South American Navy. Brazil, one of the favorites, also thrashed Tunisia 4-1.
The coach Héctor Cárdenas opted to accompany in the final match to Cortés, figure of Millonarios in the local league, with Asprilla, of the English Wigan, and Ángel, of the Atlético Nacional de Medellín, two players who did not play the South American in which they qualified for the World Cup. The combination was explosive.
The thrashing took time to unleash. Aware of their favoritism, Colombia turned in the first half on the goal of a retracted and orderly Slovakia. Captain Gustavo Puerta tried with a mid-distance shot, the weapon from which the coffee growers took so much advantage in the South American in which they were hosts, but his rejection was deflected. Fullbacks Andres Salazar and Edier Ocampo joined the siege, a barrage of missiles without aim.
Angel, very active in attack, wasted a one-on-one in front of goalkeeper Adam Danko on the half hour and smashed another shot against his gloves. Midfielder Castillo Manyoma also tried with a powerful shot scratched by Danko on a ball that went down the nine inside the area, and even defender Kevin Mantilla sought revenge for his mistake in the last game of the group stage with a rejection from outside the area to the hands of the goalkeeper. The coffee assault was sterile until the break, as has been a constant during a tournament in which it has come from behind, with much more push in the second half.
The eighth-round duel was no exception. A five-minute burst of Colombian vertigo left Slovakia on the canvas. An error in the exit of the Europeans gave the ball to Cortés, who unblocked the game by defining between the legs of Danko. Almost immediately, Yasser Asprilla scored a gem, a corner shot from the edge of the area, behind a manual wall with the Millonarios winger. The yellow jerseys were still celebrating when Angel holed the third, a furious left-footed shot from the balcony of the area.
Insatiable, Colombians continued to rise. On the hour, the striker, son of former international Juan Pablo Angel, appeared again with another left-footed cross without major resistance from Danko. Coach Cardenas began to introduce changes to rest his men, who on Saturday will play the quarterfinals in search of a place in the semifinals. His rival will leave the European classic between England and Italy, which is played in the second hour of this Wednesday. Colombia squandered successive opportunities while time was consumed. Timotej Jambor scored near the end, but in the extra period Cortés crowned the 5-1 with his fourth goal of the tournament, which leaves him at the top of the scorers table with Brazilian Marcos Leonardo and Italian Casadei.
In another match of the day, Brazil, the South American champion, defeated Tunisia 4-1 with goals from Marcos Leonardo, Matheus Martins and a double from Andrey Santos, while for the Africans Mahmoud Ghorbel made up the score. All five South American teams made it past the group stage and remain in contention to reach the quarterfinals. Argentina, last-minute hosts, face Nigeria later on Wednesday, while Uruguay faces Gambia on Thursday and Ecuador faces South Korea. The albiceleste is the most successful team in the category, with six world titles, followed by the canarinha with five stars.
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