Round-up: Tunisia and Morocco off to winning starts at U17 World Cup

Tunisia beat Venezuela 2-1 despite playing for over an hour with 10 men after having a man sent off, while Morocco mark U17 World Cup debut with victory over Croatia.

Eduardo Maceira, right, of Venezuela tries to tackle Tunisia's Chiheb Jbeli. Satish Kumar / The National
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TUNISIA 2

Jbeli 25’, Ben Labri 47’ (pen)

VENEZUELA 1

Marquez 51’

SHARJAH // Tunisia had one player less than Venezuela for the best part of an hour and just a 36 per cent share of possession, but still registered three points in their Group D opener on Friday.

Chiheb Jebeli gave the north African side a first-half lead and Mohammed Ben Larbi doubled their advantage just after half time from the spot.

That penalty was one of the few forays the Tunisian made outside their half in the second phase though.

Venezuela turned the numerical advantage brought about by the first half dismissal of Sabri Akrout into a wealth of possession – but only managed a single Jose Marquez goal for their efforts.

Clearly Abdelhay ben Soltane, the Tunisia coach, is an adept risk manager, given that he reckoned afterwards that everything had gone exactly to plan.

“We had trained for this situation, to have one player less,” the Tunisia coach said. “At this age you must present them with problems and let them come up with the solutions.

“But I didn’t expect it to happen in the very first game. We did well on the counter attack and defended well for 60 minutes with one player less.”

Rafael Dudamel, the Venezuela coach, said his side can still advance to the knockout stage despite their opening day loss.

“Of course it was not our plan to miss out on these three points, but this team is capable of coming back and winning the remaining two games,” Dudamel said.

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CROATIA 1

Muric 59’

MOROCCO 3

Achahbar 27’, 40’, Jaadi 45’

Karim Achahbar was twice on target as Morocco celebrated their first appearance in a Fifa Under 17 World Cup tournament with a 3-1 win over Croatia in Group C.

Nabil Jaadi backed up the Guingamp striker’s double to make it 3-0 at half time.

Robert Muric scored a consolation for Croatia on 57 minutes but Morocco should have added to their tally when Younes Bnou Marzouk rounded the goalkeeper only to hit inexplicably wide of the open net.

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PANAMA 0

UZBEKISTAN 2

Abbasov 68’, Ashurmatov 76’

Asian Under 17 champions Uzbekistan were 2-0 winners over Panama thanks to second-half goals from substitute Shohjahon Abbasov and Rustamjon Ashurmatov.

Abbasov applied the finishing touch to Jamshid Boltaboev’s free kick on 68 minutes and Ashurmatov rifled in a left-foot volley eight minutes later.

pradley@thenational.ae

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