By James K. Attaglo Wilson
Yanga Herrera shot Venezuela into its first ever quarter-final stage in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Tuesday after 1-0 extra time victory over a resilient Japanese side.
The tournament surprise package [Venezuela] hit the accelerator right from the blast of the referees whistle as Yeferson Soteldo, Adalberto Penaranda, and Ronaldo Pena coming close.
The Asian champions [Japan] came into the picture very strong after half an hour mark. Ritsu Doan nearly gave Japan the lead with a well taken free-kick but his timely effort went as far as flashing off the bar.
The game was hotly contested in the second half with both sides coming close to scoring but, none was able to find the net taking the game into extra-time.
Venezuela captain, Yanga Herrera jumped high to head in Penaranda’s corner kick beyond Japanese goalkeeper Ryosuke Kojima in the 108th minute to send Venezuela to the next phase of the competition.
In the other Round of 16 match, host nation Korea Republic suffered a painful 1-3 defeat to Portugal at the Cheonan Sports Complex.
The Portuguese took an early lead in the 10th minute when Xadas outsmart his marker to head in Xande Silva’s cross into the box.
Bruno Costa extended the lead for the Portuguese in the 27th minute with a vicious strike.
Korea Republic pushed more forward in the second half in search of goals, but they lacked the bite upfront. Xadas scored his second goal of the evening in the 70th minute to put the game to bed.
Meanwhile, Lee Sangheon came off the bench to give Korea a consolation goal in the 81st minute to bring back some hope in the faces of the humongous crowd but it couldn’t help their course anyway.
Portugal will take on the winner of the Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia match which comes off tomorrow.