Mendoza (Argentina), June 2 (IANS) Anderson Duarte’s decisive goal helped Uruguay edge Gambia 1-0 to enter the FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinals.
In a match that saw both sides reduced to ten men, a low and driven rocket from Uruguay midfielder Duarte midway through the second half proved to be the difference as they edged past Gambia to set up an intriguing quarterfinal against the USA.
Gambia were up against it early on as Mansour Mbye was sent off in the 17th minute for a challenge on Juan de los Santos following an on-field VAR review by referee Francois Letexier.
Uruguay failed to take full advantage of having an extra man for the remainder of the first half, as Luciano Rodriguez’s yellow card was upgraded to a red following another on-field VAR call right before the break for an elbow thrown at Sainey Sanyang’s face. It was to be ten-on-ten for the second half.
After the break, Gambia were more measured and patient in possession, but Uruguay were more direct in attack and created more dangerous opportunities.
Uruguay were eventually rewarded for their endeavour when Duarte’s fierce shot from 25 yards out found the bottom corner.
Uruguay will get two full days’ rest before facing an in-form USA side with a spot in the semifinals on the line.
Uruguay have shown remarkable consistency through the years at the U-20 World Cup, qualifying for at least the quarterfinals ten of the 16 times they have participated in the tournament.
In other action, Bae Junho scored one and set another up as Korea Republic upset Ecuador 3-2 in the last 16 to set up a Sunday’s quarterfinal clash with Nigeria.
Taegeuk Warriors struck first for Korea. Junho played a delightful ball over the back of the Ecuador defence. Lee Youngjun controlled it immaculately on his chest and buried a volley into the bottom corner.
Junho then employed two exceptional touches to befuddle Daniel de la Cruz, before firing home to double the advantage.
A penalty got Ecuador back into the game. Park Changwoo was adjudged to have pulled back Kendry Paez, and Justin Cuero dispatched his fourth goal of Argentina 2023, but Korea Republic restored their two-goal cushion at the start of the second half.
Choi Seokhyun forcibly headed home Lee Seungwon’s corner, and despite a late Sebastian Gonzalez effort from close range, three-two was enough to get the Koreans to seal the deal.
Korea Republic have now won four successive FIFA U-20 World Cup matches against nations from South America, the competition’s dominant continent.