BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Two of the title favorites lost their opening games at the U20 World Cup on Sunday as Italy beat Brazil 3-2 and Japan produced a shock 1-0 victory over Senegal.
Nigeria and Colombia won their matches in dramatic fashion, both by 2-1 scores against much weaker rivals the Dominican Republic and Israel.
Italy raced to a 3-0 lead in the Group D match that opened in the 11th minute when midfielder Matteo Pratti fired home from close range. Italy doubled their lead after Brazil goalkeeper Mycael failed to stop a cross and left the ball for a clear header by midfielder Cesare Casadei in the 27th. Casadei added a third in the 35th from the spot.
Brazil regrouped and scored twice through striker Marcos Leonardo, the first in the 72nd and the second with a header in the 87th, but it was too little, too late.
Senegal were shocked early by Japan in their Group C match in La Plata. Striker Kuryu Matsuki scored in the 15th and it allowed the Japanese to sit back. Senegal winger Samba Diallo, one of the expected stars of the tournament, failed to deliver and was substituted in the 73rd minute.
Earlier, Nigeria trailed the Dominican Republic in their Group D match in Mendoza after Edison Azcona opened the scoring from the spot in the 23rd. But the African side’s high intensity paid off in the second half.
The Nigerians equalized after an own goal by left back Guillermo de Peña in the 31st and got the winner with Samson Adeniran Lawal in the 70th minute.
Colombia faced difficulties before equalizing with Israel with a late winner in their Group C match in La Plata. Dor David Turgeman scored for the Israelis in the 57th, but Colombia rallied with goals from Oscar Cortez in the 74th. Gustavo Puerta in the 90th.
Colombia next play Japan on Wednesday. In other matches on Wednesday, Italy and Nigeria meet and Brazil take on the Dominican Republic.
Argentina took Indonesia’s place in the tournament as host and participant. Protests in Muslim-majority Indonesia against hosting Israel forced FIFA to make a very late change of venues.
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