New Zealand complicated Carlos Paniagua's team, but 2-2 was enough to be first in group B.

Colombia had a game full of ups and downs, in which they endured the entire second half with one less, but it meant qualifying for the quarterfinals of the U20 Women's World Cup, after drawing 2-2 against New Zealand. She finished first in the group, with five points.

The game did not start easy for Colombia. At 2 minutes, Marisa van der Meer put in a filtered pass between Ana María Guzmán and Kelly Caicedo. In the box, Emily Clegg received the ball, tunneled past Kelly and shot across to beat Natalia Giraldo.

Linda Caicedo scored a brilliant goal

The 0-1 still did not complicate the classification, but yes, on paper, it was going to put pressure on Colombia. However, the team had character, went to the front and pushed New Zealand into their own goal. And very quickly the talent of Linda Caicedo appeared to tie the game with a hit on the edge of the area before taking a shot and nailing the ball into the goal. Great goal!

From that moment on, the game was a monologue for Colombia, in which he lacked precision in the shot to make a difference that he deserved for what he did on the field. The blessed aim…

The VAR gave New Zealand a break, by notifying the American judge Tori Penso that Yirleidys Quejada put an iron on a rival, Ava Pritchard, and at 41 minutes, Colombia stayed with ten players.

That red card took pressure off the oceanic team and forced the Colombian coach, Carlos Paniagua, to rearrange the defense with the entry of Yunaira López, sacrificing Mariana Muñoz, who had had her first game as a starter.

From the quiet goal to tight finishes

< br>In the second half, Colombia took precautions, took shelter a bit and bet on the counterattack, to take advantage of the speed of Gisela Robledo and, above all, Linda Caicedo. And this last one, on a brilliant night, got the 2-1, at 18 of the second stage, after a great pass from Robledo.

New Zealand did not give up and even had some luck to get the equalizer, eight minutes after Linda's goal: Charlotte Lancaster, who had entered just after the second Colombian goal, shot a cross to the far post and the ball was closing until getting into an angle. He scored a great goal.

Paniagua refreshed the entire attack after New Zealand's draw: incredibly, he took out Linda Caicedo, and also Gisela Robledo and Liced Serna, and bet on the speed of Ingrid Guerra and Wendy Bonilla and the sacrifice of Mary José Álvarez to try to maintain the 2-2.

New Zealand pressed in the last minutes, but, in reality, it did not create any danger for Colombia, which, thanks to the victory of Mexico 1-0 against Germany in the other match of the group, not only qualified, but did it first. And now he expects a rival for Saturday, in the quarterfinals.

José Orlando Ascencio
Deputy Sports Editor
@josasc

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