NZ 1-1 TUR: All Whites battle Turkey for point but lose captain Mata to red

NZ 1-1 TUR: All Whites battle Turkey for point but lose captain Mata to red
Photo Credit To @FIFAcom

Mata found the equaliser for the Kiwis in reply to Turkey Kutucu’s first-half header, but earned a second yellow deep in injury time of their FIFA U-17 World Cup opener.

New Zealand came from behind to play out a draw against Turkey in the Group B opener of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium at Navi Mumbai on Friday. The two sides matched the scoreline from their only previous meeting in the competition, back in 2009 in Nigeria.

Turkey opened the scoring, with Ahmed Kutucu bagging the first goal of the tournament with a well taken header off Kesgin’s corner. It was a deserved goal following a period of sustained pressure from the Crescent-Stars. Mehmet Hacioglu’s side pressed the Kiwis hard, particularly in midfield. And their goal came after they had already missed a couple of very decent chances.

The All Whites did manage to respond with a good chance of their own. But Turkey struck before New Zealand could get a proper foothold in the first half.

Kutucu found the net from an 18th minute corner, and that seemed to jerk the Kiwis awake. Danny Hay’s boys doubled their efforts thence to get back into the contest. Just, Spragg and Mata each missed chances going into the break. And though New Zealand hadn’t found the equaliser, they looked close.

The All Whites started the stronger of the two in the second, eventually pulling level in the 58th through a clever ball from Just to Mata from a free kick. Spragg and Just went really close to grabbing the winner as well, the former’s shot just over the crossbar and Just hitting the post in the 83rd. But it wasn’t to be, and the game ultimately ended on a sour note for the Kiwis. Captain Mata earned a second yellow card for leading with his arm while contesting a header deep in injury time.

Both teams fight hard for a deserved draw in overcast humid conditions in Mumbai

In the end neither team should really begrudge the other the result. Both set of youngsters battled hard in fairly tough conditions for their opening outing of the tournament, with intermittent drizzles and high humidity making for sluggish conditions.

Turkey could arguably have made more of their early dominance. Particularly with the back-to-back chances in the 7th minute – Gokcinen finding the side-netting and Babacan blowing his shot from close range.

New Zealand, too, had a fair shy at the Turkish goal through Sinclair a few minutes before Kutucu’s goal. And they had a string of chances towards the end of the first.

But the ones they really should have taken came much later in the game. Spragg, Mata and Just conjured a number of good attempts between them, with Just hitting the post in the 83rd. Turkey for their part weren’t sitting back either, trading blow for blow with the All Whites.

Neither team could capitalise, however. And fortunately for New Zealand Mata’s dismissal came too late for Turkey to make much of their advantage. A point apiece in the bag, both teams will now look to notch their first wins in their upcoming fixtures.


New Zealand:

12. Jacob CLARK (GK), 4. Liberato CACACE, 5. Boyd CURRY, 6. Leon van den HOVEN, 7. Elijah JUST, 9. Max MATA (C), 11. Matthew CONROY, 14. Kingsley SINCLAIR (10. Willem EBBINGE), 15. Ben DEELEY, 18. Charles SPRAGG (17. Matthew PALMER 81’), 20. Emlyn Wellsmore

Unused substitutes: 1. Zac JONES (GK), 2. Liam MOORE, 3. Joshua ROGERSON, 8. Oliver DUNCAN, 13. Matthew JONES, 16. Oliver WHYTE, 19. Kieran RICHARDS, 21. Nicholas MILNER (GK)


1. Berke OZER (GK), 2. Emirhan CIVELEK, 3. Melih GOKCIMEN (19. Berk CETIN 69’), 4. Sahan AKYUZ, 5. Ozan KABAK, 6. Sefa AKGUN, 7. Ahmed KUTUCU (15. Yunus AKGUN 63’), 8. Kerem KESGIN, 9. Malik KARAAHMET (20. Embiya AYYILDIZ 63’), 10. Atalay BABACAN, 11. Recep GUL (C)

Unused substitutes: 12. Eren BILEN, 13. Ismail COKCALIS, 14. Umut GUNES, 16. Sezer TASKOLU, 17. Egehan GOK, 18. Abdussamed KARNUCU, 21. Ozan ORUC

Upcoming games

New Zealand play their next game in three days’ time on Monday the 9th at the same venue at 20:00 hrs local time. The All Whites will play Paraguay, and manager Danny Hay will be hoping for more than a point on the occasion.

As for Mehmet Hacioğlu’s boys, they will also be playing their next game on the 9th at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The Turks will play Mali in the early kick-off at 17:00 hrs local time.

Check out further details of the schedules and details of both New Zealand and Turkey, as well as other news from the FIFA U-17 World Cup at their official site here.


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