2018 FIFA under-17 Women’s World Cup: Japan and Mexico settle for a 1-1 draw
Group B: Japan 1 - 1 Mexico (JAP: Momoka Kinoshita 40'; MEX: Alison González 63')
Both teams entered the Estadio Domingo Burgueño in Maldonado, Uruguay, knowing a draw would ferry them to the knock-outs.
Competitive first half saw both the teams exchanging attacks repeatedly, with plenty of action around the midfield.
El Tri’s first attempt came from Natalia Mauléon who got past Shino Matsuda and floated a sublime cross which got headed out of imminent danger by Tomoko Tanaka. Tanaka though got cleaned up by Alison Gonzalez drawing the attention of Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga to blow the whistle.
The Little Nadeshiko‘s drew first blood five minutes before the interval when a solo effort from Momoka Kinoshita saw her soaring past three defenders to unleash a left-footed curler past a diving Jaidy Gutiérrez.
With Brazil storming to a comfortable victory over South Africa, Mexico had to score in the second half to stay in the competition.
They did so immediately when Guadalajara’s Anette Vazquez came up with a splendid cross that left the Japanese shot-stopper Shu Ohba stranded in the centre of the penalty area. Alison Gonzalez sent a looping header into an empty net to score the equalizer.
A lucky deflection off a Mexican defender left Chiina Kamiya with a clear shot on the goal to put Japan in the lead. A fine save from Jaidy Gutiérrez followed by a clearance from Ximena Rios kept Mexico on level terms. Rios got cleaned up by a rapidly advancing Chise Takizawa prompting the referee to signal a foul.
Mexico survived anxious last few minutes before the Rwandan referee sounded the whistle signalling the progress of both the teams into the quarters with NTV Menina‘s Momoka Kinoshita deservedly collecting the player of the match.
Japan managed four of their seven shots on target. Mexico found just one shot on target from their three such attempts. Japan also edged out Mexico garnering 53% of the ball possession.
Standings Group B: Japan 5 points, Mexico 5, Brazil 4, South Africa 1.
Japan and Mexico advance to the knock-outs.