Colombia somehow survived missing their first two spot-kicks in a penalty shoot-out to outlast New Zealand 5-4 and reach the FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since hosting the event in 2011. An entertaining, seesaw 120 minutes had ended 1-1.
Colombia required merely 11 minutes to go ahead from a left-wing free-kick. Ivan Angulo’s inviting, inswinging cross was met by Andres Reyes, who glanced his header home from five yards.
New Zealand immediately went on the offensive, with Callum McCowatt a menacing presence, and got their equaliser on 35 minutes. Liberato Cacace fizzed a fine, low cross into the box from the left, and Elijah Just steered it home from close range.
Luis Sinisterra decorated the remainder of the half with his hypnotising trickery, albeit without reward.
Michael Woud made a diving, one-handed save to deny Cucho Hernandez into the second half before a defensive gaffe left Just one-on-one with Kevin Mier. The New Zealand No7 lobbed the ball over the Colombia goalkeeper, but Reyes got back to hook the goal-bound ball clear. Just then elected to go solo rather than afford one of two team-mates what would have been a gilt-edged chance, and he was tackled.
Colombia couldn’t convert two half-chances in the final ten minutes, but extra-time included two considerable ones. First Mier did superbly to repel Max Mata’s header from point-blank range. Then Johan Carbonero made an exhilarating dart from inside his own half into the New Zealand penalty box and cut the ball for Angulo, who, from eight yards out, scuffed his shot, enabling Woud to make a smart save.
Woud denied Colombia’s first two penalties in the shootout, but Mier’s save from Matt Conroy completed their comeback triumph.