Joeys fall short in World Cup opener

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A goal in the dying minutes of the Joeys’ opening World Cup match proved too little too late as Ecuador took all three points with a 2-1 win.

Despite dominating possession, the U17 Australian side failed to convert the majority of their chances and two early goals for Ecuador proved costly.

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It was a horror start from the Joeys as Ecuador asserted their dominance in the game with two early goals.

Following a corner, Erick Pluas’ shot from outside the box took a deflection and left Joeys keeper Adam Pavlesic on the back foot and unable to make a save.

It did not take long for the second as Pedro Vite broke down the left flank for the Ecuadorians and his ball into the box flew into the back of the net off the boot of Anton Mlinaric.

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The Joeys eventually settled into the game, showing signs of danger as they burst down the right flank to put Ecuador under pressure on numerous occasions. They created plenty of chances but were unable to break down a resolute Ecuadorian defence.

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The Joeys headed into the break with plenty of work to do but showed some promising signs.

They started the second half well with a neat build-up play resulting in Noah Botic slotting the ball past the keeper, only for the linesman to put his flag up.

It was a cagey second half that followed, as neither side was able to assert their dominance over the other. Both sides ventured into their attacking half but were unable to create any chances due to solid defending.

Ecuador had multiple chances late in the game to put it to bed but failed to put it past Pavlesic, with Mina flashing the ball across the face of the goal and Carrasco hitting the base of the post.

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A late Botic goal for Australian sparked a tense finish to the game.

The ball was cut back to Botic in the box and he slammed it past Joan Lopez to give his side their first goal of the night moments before injury time.

In the end, it was not enough as Ecuador hung on to claim a thrilling 2-1 win. The Joeys dominated for large parts of the match but were unable to convert their chances when it mattered.

They look ahead to their next game against Hungary at 10:00 am AEDT on October 30.

Feature Image Credit: Football Federation Australia

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Declan Smith
Current Sports Media student at University of Canberra. Average footballer