Argentina scrapes through against Costa Rica in U17 tourney
PORT SAID, Egypt (AP) _ Luciano Galletti scored the only goal of the game Sunday, leading Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in a closely contested match of the Under 17 soccer World Cup.
The 1-0 victory means Argentina and Ghana, who drew on Friday, now share the top position in Group D with four points with one match to go. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.
In other matches Sunday, Ghana beat Bahrain 5-1, Egypt and Chile tied at 1 and Germany beat Thailand 3-0.
Argentina pierced Costa Rica’s tight defense in the 69th minute when Galletti scored on a curving free kick into the corner of the net, from just outside the box.
``I had hoped to win by more than one goal, but the Costa Rican team played a defensive match, which strained our players a lot,″ Argentina coach Jose Peckerman said.
In the other Group D match, Godwin Ashitey Attram scored twice to lead defending champion Ghana to a 5-1 victory over Bahrain.
In contrast to its lackluster performance in Friday’s scoreless draw against Argentina, Ghana performed as a closely-knit team to dominate the Bahraini defense from the start.
Attram scored the first goal in the fifth minute of the first half, while teammate Aziz Ansah followed in the eighth.
Ghanaian coach Emmanuel Kwasi Afranie said the two goals scored early in the match were ``a strong push″ for his team.
In Group A, Chile’s Manuel Villalobos scored in the 68th minute from point-blank range to tie Egypt.
Egypt opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Ashraf Saleh booted in a Mohammed Eid cross.
Egyptian coach Mohammad Aly said the immense pressure of pleasing a highly expectant home crowd made his players nervous, and at least a couple of them withdrew with cramps.
``We are carrying the responsibility of 60 million people on our shoulder and it is up to us that they come out of the match happy″ Aly said.
Egypt is in second place in Group A, two points behind Germany. The two teams play Wednesday, with the winner taking the group.
Germany took advantage of 21 Thai fouls, opening the scoring on a Sebastian Diesler free kick in the 26th minute. The Germans added two goals in the second half.