Portugal U20 Cruise to Victory against Colombia to Top Group C

Portugal kept their perfect record alive as they topped Colombia to win group C on Friday night in Otago.

The Colombians had a variety of chances in the first half, but it was Portugal who struck first as Villarreal fouled Chico Ramos right on the edge of the box in the 2nd minute of the match. Nuno Santos would go on to convert the free kick in spectacular fashion as it flew into the top corner and Portugal went ahead.

Colombia would attempt to respond immediately as Quintero got a head to a deep pass, but the header fell calmly into the hands of Andre Moreira in the fourth minute. The Colombian assault would not last long and the focus on attack would break for a moment of panic as Silva broke through the Colombian defense following a poor back pass, but keeper Montero collected coolly.

Colombia would get another opportunity in the 13th minute however, when Joao Rodriguez dribbled through a crowd of Portuguese players only to rocket his shot off of a Portuguese defender.

As the first half went on, the Colombians continued to enjoy the majority of possession and chances but could not create a solid opportunity due to Portugal's offside trap and a series of poorly timed passes on the part of the Colombian midfield.

The Portuguese were content to sit back and pick their moments as Ivo found himself in space in the 24th minute but was judged to be offside before he could turn to shoot.

Colombia managed their first real opportunity of the match in the 28th minute when Guzzo fouled Gutierrez right outside the box following some excellent footwork, but Joao Rodriguez curved his shot just wide of goal.

Zapata found himself one on one with the Portuguese goalkeeper in the 35th minute but slipped and Moreira claimed the ball with ease.

In the dying seconds of the first half, Zapata's cross fell to Otero but his half volley was blocked by Nunes.

The Colombians began the second half strong, pressing Portugal as the game opened up but Portugal would skin the Colombians on a number of occasions.

The first chance of the half fell to Colombia when Quinones played Villarreal into the box in the 48th minute, but Portuguese captain Nunes cleared in the last second.

From then on it was nearly all Portugal.

Ramos found the feet of Ivo in the 52nd minute but the striker skied his shot following a strong run at the Colombian defense. Then, in the 54th minute, Colombian keeper Montero received a yellow after he fouled Andre Silva in the box in an attempt to get to bouncing pass.

Then once the dust settled in the 56th minute, Andre Silva converted the penalty to double Portugal's lead.

Chico Ramos would receive a yellow card in the 64th minute, crucially ruling him out of Portugal's next match and he wouldn't be their only loss on the night.

Then, Portugal would add a third in the 67th as Andre Silva floated a header into the top right corner following a cross from Nuno Santos on the left wing. 

Despite being three goals down, Colombia managed to gather a head of steam in the final 15 minutes as they pulled a goal back in the 74th minute when Zapata threaded a pass in between the Portuguese centerbacks for Santos Borre to slip past the keeper to break Portugal's streak of 253 minutes without conceding a goal.

Following the goal, Colombia had several half chances including a near collision between Borre and Moreira.

Substitute Lopes nearly added a fourth in the 82nd minute after receiving a pass in the box but was outmuscled by a Colombian defender and scuffed his shot.

Misfortune would strike in the final minutes of the game as midfielder Estrela had to be stretchered off as Portugal finished the game with 10 men.

Next up, runners up Colombia face the United States while group C winners Portugal are likely to play hosts New Zealand.

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