Spain knock Japan out of U-17 Women's WC in thriller

Score in dying minutes of the game to snatch victory from jaws of defeat
The Spain versus Japan match was was evenly poised.
The Spain versus Japan match was was evenly poised.

Spain snatched a win from the jaws of defeat as they defeated Japan 2-1 to enter the semifinals of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2022.

In a fast-paced match played at the Fatorda stadium on Saturday evening, the Spaniards scored in the dying minutes (3 minutes of additional time) of the game through Vicky Lopez, who scored the second goal to throw Japan out of the quarter finals.

Lopez, who was adjudged player of the match, also scored her team's first goal to equalise in the 86th minute, when it looked like Japan would walk away with the honours.

Japan drew first blood in the game through a long-range curler from Tanikawa Momoko that caught Spanish goalkeeper, Fuente Sofia, unawares as the ball found the far corner of the net in the 65th minute making it 1-0.

Camacho Carla of Spain takes a wide shot to miss the penalty kick.
Camacho Carla of Spain takes a wide shot to miss the penalty kick.

Most of the action was seen in the second half after Japan's first goal. Spain remained relentless to get the equaliser, but the Japanese goalkeeper stood like a rock denying the Spanish girls.

Spain built the pressure consistently, but the Japanese defended well. In the 82nd minute, Spain came close to scoring from a close-range header of Partido Paula but the ball went straight into the safe hands of Japanese goalkeeper Iwasaki Uruha.

The Japanese were not ready to give up even after Spain made it 2-1 in the dying minutes. Soon after Spain scored the winner, Japan moved up front to attack and came dangerously close to making it 2-2, but the Spanish goalkeeper saved the day.

Vicky Lopez, the player  of the match with Spanish coach Gonzalo Kenio.
Vicky Lopez, the player of the match with Spanish coach Gonzalo Kenio.

In the first half, Spain had more possession of the ball and were even awarded a penalty kick when Camacho Carla was brought down in the penalty area. Much to Japan's joy, Carla, who took the penalty kick, shot wide.

The first half remained goalless.

In a post-match interaction, the Spanish coach, Gonzalo Kenio, admitted the first half was difficult for the team after Camacho Carla missed the penalty kick.

Kenio said playing Germany will be an opportunity in the semifinals and the team was ready for the challenge.

He had a word of praise for the Japanese, especially the goalkeepers of both teams, who made some brilliant saves.

The Japanese walked away winners in defeat as the team played some skillful football.
The Japanese walked away winners in defeat as the team played some skillful football.

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