Dubai: Argentina scored either side of half-time and added a third in the final quarter of play to help themselves to a 3-0 win over Canada and the top spot in Group E in the 2013 Fifa U-17 World Cup here late on Friday.
Struggling to have a clear look at the opponents’ goal through most of the first half, it was Joaquin Ibanez who opened the scoring during first-half injury time and then Matias Sanchez doubled the score in the first minute of the second half to help ease the pressure.
Sanchez then added a second in the 75th minute when he coolly curled over Canada goalkeeper Marco Carducci to ensure the South Americans ended with seven points, ahead of second-placed Iran, who won by a solitary goal courtesy of Yousef Seyeddi against Austria in the second Group E match in Al Ain.
Though Argentina mounted early pressure on the Canada goal, they looked out of sorts and tentative once closer to the area. But they maintained pressure throughout and came close to opening the score on the night.
It was Luis Leszczuk setting the tone of things to come when he darted in unchallenged in the very first move of the match and fired a shot at the Canada goal.
Carducci was kept busy thereafter as in the fourth minute Sanchez fired in a rasping drive that had the Canada goalkeeper scrambling the ball to safety. Carducci was called upon to make two more saves off German Ferreyra and Leszczuk in the 16th and 22nd minutes.
Relying more on individual talent and not really finding their stride as a team did not bother the Argentinians as they kept pressing for an elusive goal.
And in the first minute of first-half injury period it was Ibanez who settled their nerves with his goal.
Argentina, whose best finish in the tournament was third place, started where they left off in the second half and they were rewarded immediately when Sanchez came up with a superb header off a cross from the right by Nicolas Tripichio.
Argentina continued their domination and in the 75th minute it was Sanchez who grabbed his second of the night with a coolly curled shot giving Carducci no chance at all.
Down and out, Canada continued to press and fight for honour with the hope of at least pulling one goal back, and they did have a fantastic opportunity to do so in the 70th minute when Jordan Hamilton was one on one with goalkeeper Augusto Batalla. But the striker from Toronto FC advanced and shot into the arms of the Argentina goalkeeper.
Group A: Brazil, Honduras, Slovakia
Group B: Uruguay, Italy, Ivory Coast
Group C: Morocco, Uzbekistan
Group D: Japan, Tunisia, Russia
Group E: Argentina, Iran
Group F: Nigeria, Mexico, Sweden