FIFA U17 World Cup: Referees stopped us from playing our natural game, Niger coach critical of officials
The pressure was on Spain as the European U17 champions qualification was at stake after failing to win the first match. Niger showed the attacking version of their game in the starting minutes of the game which was cheered up by the spectators. The African upstarts created a lot of good chances in the starting minutes of the game. Spain slowly started to dominate the game with the Spanish forwards Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert and Sergio Gomez winning the show for La Roja, with quick passing and fast attack down the flanks Spain dominated the attack throughout the game.
In a game which saw a low turn out, Kochi saw the real attacking face of Spanish captain Abel Ruiz. It took 21 minutes for Spain to break the defence of Niger with Juan Miranda whipping the ball into the box with Ruiz finding the goal. Niger created a lot of chances to equalize but failed to convert their chances.
The humidity and heat was taking on the players, that could be seen when players got to the touchline for drinks when the game stopped for an injury. Just before 45 minutes, Ruiz doubled Spain's lead with Sergio Gomez putting the ball into the box for the captain. Gelabert extended the lead again for Spain in the extra time from a cross by Gomez.
In the second half, Spain dominated with their attack but failed to find the net with Niger keeper Khaled Lawali making some fine saves. In the 81st minute, Gomez scored a stunning long-ranger from a rebound from the keeper. Even though Niger performed well Spain got a comfortable win of 4-0 bagging three points.
After the match, Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko was critical of the decisions taken by the referee during the game. He commented that: "The game was put off by the referees decision, the referee's decisions made us to sit back which stopped us from playing our natural game." Tiemoko said that Spain team outplayed Niger but they were not allowed to take out their natural game.
Tiemoko said, "We don't usually sit back and defend and this was the reason of conceding a lot of goals". It is clear from the coach's comment that the first ten minutes they dominated the game as they were playing their natural game. Tiemoko said that his players have to learn the possession game from the Spanish team and added that Niger won't take any risk against Brazil and play fancy football. He signed off from the press conference by saying that his boy played well even though they don't have any match experience or clubs to play.
Spanish Manager Santi said they he was happy with getting all 3 points and that his team played as a team. He said: "First ten minutes Niger pressed up front and it was difficult for them to play their natural passing game, after that Niger sat back and we were able to take out our natural game". On playing tiki-taka and fast movement Santi commented:"Spanish team is known for a particular style and we play according to that".
The Spain boss didn't comment on the referee's decision and added that he respects the decisions taken. He added that his team need to improve a lot and his technical team is behind the team to help them find their mistakes and correcting it. On Ruiz, he said: "I only have positive things to tell about him and it is the media who should evaluate him."