2018 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup: New Zealand defeat hosts Uruguay to enter quarterfinals
Group A: New Zealand 2 - 1 Uruguay (NZL: Grace Wisnewski 26', Kelli Brown 36'; URU: Belén Aquino 8')
Leon Birnie‘s wards produced history at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay yesterday. New Zealand entered the quarterfinals for the first time in their sixth appearance at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
They overcame hosts Uruguay after being down by an early goal, winning the match by the odd goal in three to reserve a place in the knockouts. Grace Wisnewski from New Zealand deservedly won the Player of the match.
Las Celestes grabbed the early lead in the eighth minute when an absolute screamer from Esperanza Pizarro rattled the crossbar from long range. The hosts were fortunate as the rebound dropped to Belén Aquino‘s feet for her to volley it into the goal, sending the 5,000-odd spectators into a festive mood.
Gabi Rennie then sent a high cross from the right byline, and Kelli Brown tapped the ball to Maggie Jenkins who swiveled to shoot past Uruguayan shot-stopper Agustina Caraballo and defender Sofía Ramondegui. The ball rolled on to hit the left goalpost, where Grace Wisnewski pounced on the rebound to level the scores.
The Young Football Ferns added a second goal from Kelli Brown in similar fashion to the first. Maggie Jenkins struck the goalpost yet again following a set piece situation. And Brown tapped in the rebound from close range to put New Zealand in the lead.
In the second half, a good ball delivered by Esperanza Pizarro forced a leaping save from East Coast Bays AFC keeper Anna Leat across the goal line. Kelli Brown then tried a curling strike in the last few minutes which went wide of the near post without troubling Agustina Caraballo.
Uruguay managed three of their seven shots on target while New Zealand converted seven of their 14 attempts on goal. The woodwork denied the hosts once and the Young Football Ferns twice.
Las Celestes had 53% ball possession while New Zealand committed 25 fouls.