GROUP STAGE: DAY 2 RECAP
CLICK ON A MATCH TO SEE THE MATCH REPORT:
|Group A||Group B|
|NYC Colombia 3-1 NYC Argentina||NYC Ireland 1-0 NYC Ivory Coast|
|NYC Bolivia 0-0 NYC Italy||NYC Senegal 0-0 NYC Greece|
|NYC Colombia 0-0 NYC Bolivia||NYC Greece 2-1 NYC Ireland|
|NYC Italy 2-1 NYC Argentina||NYC Senegal 3-0 NYC Ivory Coast|
|Group C||Group D|
|NYC Poland 2-0 NYC Jamaica||NYC Haiti 2-1 NYC USA|
|NYC Uruguay 1-0 NYC Afghanistan||NYC England 2-1 NYC France|
|NYC Poland 1-0 NYC Uruguay||NYC USA 2-1 NYC England|
|NYC Jamaica 5-0 NYC Afghanistan||NYC Haiti 2-1 NYC France|
NYC Colombia notched their second win of group play after defeating NYC Argentina 3-1 in an extremely intense match.
Colombia struck first just three minutes into the game after Hemir Hiebles scored on an impressively taken free kick from about 25 yards out. His bending shot over the wall gave the diving keeper no chance.
Both teams quickly found their groove after the early breakthrough and Argentina thought they earned a penalty only for the referee to wave play on.
After the restart, Argentina made it clear that they were intent on finding an equalizer as their physical play troubled the Colombian backline. However, the final ball was missing for the Argentines in the final third.
While Argentina were struggling to create many threatening chances on goal, Colombia were comfortable resorting to the counter attack led by the intelligent movement of Kevin Correa.
Colombia nearly found their second goal of the match on one of their counters when Hiebles received the ball just inside the 18-yard box, dribbled past the onrushing keeper, but fired his shot over the crossbar.
With about fifteen minutes left in the match, after an onslaught of Argentine long balls into the box, Patricio Acosta got on the end of a well placed cross and pulled his team even, giving them hope that they still had a shot at advancing.
However, showing incredible resolve, Colombia struck back just two minutes later after Christian Turizo was played through onto goal and fired a low shot across the keepers body and into the net, sending the Colombian fans into ecstasy. The previously singing Argentines were left with looks of rejection on their faces.
Kevin Mesa converted his team’s second free kick of the game just minutes after their go-ahead goal, all but guaranteeing them a place in the quarterfinals.
Man of the Match: Hemir Niebles (NYC Colombia)
Italy and Bolivia clashed in a Group A stalemate as both teams were unable to unlock their opponent's defense.
That’s not to say the game didn’t present its fair share of excitement, though. In the 8th minute, Italy forward Gianluca Salza cut in from the right, weaving through the Bolivian defense but his ball was saved by the keeper.
The Italians dominated possession for much of the game, thanks large in part to Jeff Matteo, whose majestic dribbling and passing set the tone for Italy. On one occasion in the 20th minute, he was near the top of the box but was tripped up by Diego Oña who receives a yellow card. He then missed from the ensuing free kick.
Like much of the matches on day 2, this game was a physical affair. There were repeated instances of players falling to the ground clamoring for yellow, and yells rang from both sides in complaints toward the refs when their cards didn’t materialize from their pockets.
While the Italians were constantly on the attack deep in the Bolivian defense, their ultimately impotent offense was in part due to the heroic play of Bolivian defender Luis Berajano, who repeatedly repeled the Italian attack. In the end both teams had to settle for a single point.
Man of the Match: Diego Ona (NYC Bolivia)
NYC Senegal and NYC Greece played to a surprisingly thrilling 0-0 draw.
Early on, Senegal bossed the game with their overpowering strength and sublime skill on the ball. They created three early chances including a thunderous strike from Pape Thioune that struck fear into the Greek defense.
It seemed as though Thioune craved a goal as his half volley was pushed away by the fingertips of the Greek goalkeeper in the twelfth minute. And just seconds after that, a ball sent in from a Senegal corner just narrowly missed the heads of three players looking to put their team ahead.
As the end of the first half neared, Senegal were completely dominating every aspect of the game while Greece were struggling to keep the ball out of their half, let alone actually keep possession of it.
A quarter way through the second half, Greece finally had their first sniff at goal when Stefan Demitrov forced the Senegalese keeper to make an impressive, diving save.
The latter opportunity really livened the Greeks up as Demitrov once again nearly claimed the role of hero when his bending free kick from 20 yards out forced another diving save from the keeper.
However, despite all of the chances created by both sides in the last ten minutes, neither team could find that decisive goal.
Man of the Match: Stefan Demitrov (NYC Greece)
Ireland delivered a 1-0 heartbreaker to Ivory Coast to secure their six points in Group B, placing them in solid position for their next matchup against Greece and also eliminating the African nation from Cosmos Copa.
The game was a contrast of styles, as Ireland was patient side with neat bulid up play, while Ivory Coast anxiously punted long passes down field in hope of finding their fleet footed strikers.
Henri Joel almost opened the scoring for the Ivory Coast after a quarter hour when his acrobatic bicycle kick sailed just high.
Just before halftime, with the Irish on their back heels, the Ivory Coast nearly opened the scoring again. A drive into the box by Kevin Lue was centered to Amos Zeroue, allowing him to drill a shot from 10 yards out to the top right post, but the Irish keeper made a miraculous save to bring a roar out of the crowd.
Many of Ivory Coast’s free kicks were on target, but the outstanding Irish keeper, Andrew Tartara continued to be up to the task.
Ireland, never one to keep their voices silent, was constantly frustrated by the referee's eagerness to blow his whistle.. Finally, in the 42nd minute, the Irish had a chance, but a poor free kick by Stephen Roche resulted in an easy catch by Ivory Coast keeper.
Minutes later, the fatal blow was struck, though, when Ivory Coast committed a foul in their own box, and the ref awarded penalty for Ireland. The forward took his time before taking the penalty, knowing the fate of the game rested on his foot. He lined a shot, not too hard, but with enough pace to get it past the keeper, who guessed correctly. Ireland held onto their one goal lead to take three points in their second match.
Man of the Match: Conor Hunter (NYC Ireland)
NYC Italy’s 2-1 victory over NYC Argentina was not enough to see them through to the quarterfinals as they bowed out of Cosmos Copa after finishing third in their group.
Matthew Uy created Italy’s first chance to open the scoring when Gianluca Salza headed his inch perfect cross wide.
Salza was left ruing another missed opportunity ten minutes later when he shot wide after being played in behind the defense by a nifty pass from Nick Baum.
As the half carried on, neither team took a real stranglehold of the game as both had a fair share of possession. However, Marco Blasetti nearly gave Italy the lead going into the interval only for his glancing header to miss high.
Michele Giacobbone managed to make up for his teammates miss when he tapped in the game’s opening goal after getting on the end of a pass from Pietro Sgueglia. Seconds later, the halftime whistle blew.
Barely five minutes into the second half, Italy doubled their lead after Alessio Giacobbone tapped in from close range. While Giacobbone trotted back to midfield for the restart, the misery of the Argentines was palpable as they were nearing closer to their third consecutive loss.
Despite their impending disqualification, Argentina managed to pull a goal back after Pablo Essain lobbed is shot over the keeper and into the back of the net.
Man of the Match: Giorgio Ferrara (NYC Italy)
NYC Bolivia 0-0 NYC Colombia
Bolivia and Colombia played a 0-0 draw that sent both teams through to the quarterfinals. Both teams entered the match only allowing less than 0.75 goals per game over the last two seasons of Copa play, and their defenses certainly shined once again in another physical Cosmos Copa game.
In the 10th minute, Bolivia probably had its best chance of the match. Kevin Riveros came flying down the left wing, outmaneuvered a defender, and nearly snuck it past the far right post, but Colombia keeper Osvaldo Herrera was able to grab it.
Bolivia’s Luis Martinez was a force in the midfield, winning a series of balls that helped keep Colombia at bay.
Colombia’s Johan Bolanos also played well, occasionally finding his way past the Bolivian backline but he was unable to really test the Bolivian keeper.
In truth, this match played in the middle of a hot day in Randall's Island, was never much of a contest with both teams knowing that a draw was good enough to see them advance.
In what would turn out to be one of the most thrilling games of the group stages at Cosmos Copa, NYC Greece squeaked past NYC Ireland 2-1 with a dramatic injury-time goal.
The first half was a dull affair as no serious efforts on goal were created. Nevertheless, both teams came out of the break with real incentive to get the three points and the qualification to the quarterfinals that goes along with it.
Midway through the second half, Ireland became their own worst enemies when a mental mistake gifted the Greeks the opening goal in the match. After the Irish keeper rolled a harmless pass to Sean Purcell, he failed to control the ball, which landed at the feet of Andreas Chronis, who chipped the out of position keeper from 30 yards out.
Chronis nearly doubled his tally after he sped past an Irish full back, but his shot skimmed past the far post.
The Greeks continued to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats when Chronis’ fizzing half volley struck the crossbar, inches from gifting Greece a vital insurance goal.
With two minutes left, in what would have been a theatrical ending to an exciting second half, the Irish #10, Austin Friel, just missed converting an extraordinary free kick, which hit the woodwork.
However, the spectacular conclusion to the game did happen when Ireland’s Dec Reilly equalized from close range with a header. At the time a 1-1 draw would have seen Ireland advance and their passionate fans erupted in jubilation knowing that qualification was virtually secured. However Greece’s Jon Simos had other plans. The foward fired home from seven yards out with the very last kick of the game, sending Greece into the quarterfinals, and leaving the Irish and their fans heartbroken.
Man of the Match: Andreas Chronis (NYC Greece)
Although they were already eliminated, Ivory Coast fought hard in their final Cosmos Copa match, but they withered in the final 15 minutes, conceding three goals to a potent Senegal attack in a matchup of African nations. The match was vital for Senegal, though, which needed the three points to advance past Ireland and secure second place in Group B.
Before Senegal's late offensive outburst, play was somewhat sluggish. In the 17th minute, Pape Dembele dribbled into the box, and let off a desperate shot that the Ivorian keeper saved easily.
After halftime, play picked up consideraby. In the 37th minute, Ousmane Sall stole the ball and charged into the box uncontested and snuck a shot into the far post.
Senegal wasted no time extending their lead in the 39th minute, as the electric Mamadou Doudou Diouf used some fancy footwork to create space at the top of the box and he unleashed from 10 yards out past the defenseless Ivory Coast keeper.
Five minutes later, Diouf once again showed off his footwork, nearly breaking an Ivory Coast defender’s ankles at the right corner of the box, before taking his time to line up a shot inside the far left post for a 3-0 lead.
At that point, the game was effectively over, but Senegal had a couple more chances to extend their lead but they were unable to convert them.
Man of the Match: Donald Fossie (NYC Senegal)
NYC Uruguay notched a crucial 1-0 win over NYC Afghanistan that kept their hopes of a quarterfinal birth alive.
Hugo Canavarro opened the scoring early for Uruguay after he cleverly beat his defender and sent in a dangerous shot that ended up in the back of the net after taking a deflection.
After conceding the early goal, Afghanistan began linking up effectively in midfield, which resulted in a couple of half chances. If not for the fearless Uruguayan defense and their prowess at blocking shots, the Afghans may have found an equalizer.
Fabio Hernandez could have given Uruguay a comfortable lead going into halftime, but he failed to stay composed with his finish and missed wide, hitting the side netting.
Uruguay came out of halftime, all guns blazing, intent on finding a second goal. They came very close to accomplishing that when they hit the woodwork via a deflection from a free kick.
The South American side had a golden opportunity to put the game away with about ten minutes left but Gustavo Bentacour had his shot saved while he was 1v1 with the keeper.
Despite Afghanistan’s efforts, their inability to pick out quality passes in the final third ended their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages in their debut year at Cosmos Copa.
Man of the Match: Diego Gonzalez (NYC Uruguay)
Two traditional powerhouses of Cosmos Copa squared off in a match that lived up to its billing. The match was also a rematch of the 2010 final in which Poland won 3-3 on penalties. This time, Poland was the much better side and after taking an early lead, they never looked back.
In a somewhat chaotic sequence in the 8th minute, Poland had a shot from a corner that Jamaican keeper Logrando Lee deflected back into the box. The rebound pounced on by Tomasz Groch, but his shot hit the cross bar and fell into the path of Teddy Niziolek who put the ball away.
After halftime, Poland didn’t take long to find their insurance goal with Niziolek scoring again on a nice header from point blank range thanks to a beautiful cross from Groch bringing the boisterous Polish fans to their feet.
Poland wasn't satisfied with the three-goal lead though. In the 34th minute, a diving header by Christopher Karcz nearly found a wide-open net missed just wide.
Jamaica defended nobly to keep the defecit at two and put their body in the way of numerous Polish shots. In the end, Poland secured the victory and moved onto their final group game with their quarterfinal berth virtually secured.
Man of the Match: Teddy Niziolek (NYC Poland)
NYC England defeated NYC France 2-1 in a dramatic, end-to-end match.
France squandered their first threatening goal scoring opportunity after fifteen minutes of play when Laurent Manuel’s shot from about 10 yards out was punched away by the English keeper.
Not long after that, England's Dominic Barker had a glorious opportunity with yards of space in front of him to shoot, but his bending effort missed wide, barely troubling the French keeper.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Adam Maabdi opened the scoring for the French after he was played clear through on goal from a weighted through ball from Sylvan Lescoul and calmly slotted past the keeper.
England hit right back less than a minute after the French opener when George Fenwick latched onto a free kick from Maxime Batel and tapped the ball into the net.
In what was beginning to turn into an extremely open match, Danny D’Angelo fired England ahead with a well struck shot into the top corner of the net. The French keeper managed to get a hand to it, but was unable to muscle it away.
Maabdi nearly grabbed the French equalizer a minute later but his rebounded shot missed high.
France continued to push forward as the game neared its conclusion but they were unable to find the goal that would keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
Man of the Match: Danny D'Angelo (NYC England)
Haiti shocked Group D in their 2-1 win over NYC USA, giving them two wins out of two and forcing USA into a sudden-death game with England later that evening.
American forward Kyle Clancy struck first in the 2nd minute off a sharp strike from about 12 yards out. The game was very fluid from there on out. Each team played with attacking intent and the game was not as much of a physical battle as the rest of the group stages matches.
In the 16th minute, Haiti's Yvener Guerrier broke through the defense, but only managed to his shot lacked real power. However, American keeper Emeka Ogbonna, misplayed the easy catch and let the ball slip into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Just four minutes later, Haiti scored another goal. The impressive Guerrier dribbled through virtually the entire American defense and found himself one-on-one with the keeper. Calm as you like, he dribbled past the Keeper and walked the ball into the empty net. It was one of the better solo goals in the history of Cosmos Copa.
In the second half, American midfielder Oren Nhaissi had a clear shot from about 6 yards out, but he hit it right into Haitian keeper's chest.
Along with the burly Guerrier, Haitian midfielder, Gwemsley Joseph had an impressive outing, consistently finding his strikers with clever through balls.
The second half did not live up to the excitement of the first as the heat and both team's depleted squads tooks its toll on the pace of the game and neither side was able to find another goal.
The win gave Haiti six points while USA found itself needing to get a result going into the final round.
Man of the Match: Yvener Guerrier (NYC Haiti)
NYC Jamaica asserted their dominance and trounced NYC Afghanistan 4-0 in their final game of Group C play.
Although Afghanistan started the game in spirited fashion, they went down early thanks to a strike from Jermaine Hardy that deflected off of an Afghan defender and into the net.
The Jamaicans quickly doubled their lead thanks to a second wonder goal in as many days. After a blistering run down the right flank from Damion James, James Darby received the ball right outside the 18-yard box, laid off a pass for Howard Benjamin who struck the ball into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out.
Varian Crossfield nearly gave Jamaica a 3-0 lead going into halftime only for the Afghanistan keeper to make a top notch, point blank save.
Unfortunately for the tournament debutants, their keeper’s work was deemed useless when Nayab Akbari’s miss kick allowed James to convert an easy tap-in and give his team a resounding lead going into the interval.
After an eventless first 15 minutes of the second half, Mohammed Mashriqi had Afghanistan’s first chance on goal with a dipping, 25-yard shot that the Jamaican keeper pushed out of bounds.
Dwight Douglas scored Jamaica’s fourth goal of the match after James cleverly picked him out. Just five minutes later, James recorded another assist when he found Damian Brown open in the the 18-yard box, where he coolly finished.
Uruguay fought for its life in this Croup C matchup, but it wasn’t enough to get a resuly against the mighty Poles, as the Uruguayans fell 1-0. The match was one of the ugliest all day, with three yellow cards being awarded to each side—as well as one red card to Poland’s Lukasz Bielen.
The first half seemed somewhat typical of many Cosmos Copa games on day 2 of the Group Stages with both teams trying to match the physical play of the other.
Uruguay, which had come into the weekend averaging 2.4 goals per game over the last two Copa tournaments, suddenly hit a scoring drought. Much of that can be credited to the Polish defense, though, which had been stellar all weekend. Part of their success was down to the play of Teddy Niziolek who has been superb all tournament, shielding his backline from the midfield.
However, this is a fiesty Uruguay side who knows how to get under their opponent's skin. Even a veteran side like Poland. Lukasz Bielen was provoked while defending a set piece and retaliated with a push. The referee did not hesitate to give the sturdy full back a red card.
This setback didn’t stop the Polish attack, though, as the 10-man Polish side was able to find Lukasz Hausner in the box who lined a shot just inside the right post for a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.
Uruguay looked to capitalize on their man advantage for the final 15 minutes, though. In the 40th minute, Uruguay's Diego Gonzalez lined up a free kick from over 30 yards out that dipped at the last minute and caught Polish keeper, Marcin Czerwinski, off guard and hit the crossbar, and bounced behind the keeper and onto but not over the line.
Uruguay continued to pressure the Polish defense, but the Polish backline held up and the 1-0 scoreline stood, eliminating Uruguay and sending Poland top of their group for surprisingly the first time at Cosmos Copa.
Man of the Match: Teddy Niziolek (NYC Poland)
NYC Haiti delivered France their third loss in as many group stage games with a score line of 2-1.
In a game with no implications, both teams came out with a carefree desire to attack and entertain, which resulted in a hectic first ten minutes.
Adam Maabdi saw the first chance of the game go begging when his shot hit the post.
Not long after, France got on the score sheet when Mathieu Guyot fed the ball to Mohamad Delci, who simply tapped in from close range.
Haiti soon equalized after Gwemsley Joseph sped past the right fullback before playing the ball across goal for the awesome Yvener Guerrier to tap in, in almost a carbon copy of the French goal.
Immediately after the restart, Haiti took the lead after Guerrier found himself in a breakaway after a sloppy giveaway in midfield. Guerrrier continued towards goal and scored his second of the match with a simple finish.
The remainder of the match yielded no further talking points as Haiti were left rejoicing as group winners while France reflected on what could have been.
Man of the Match: Yvener Guerrier (NYC Haiti)
USA v. England proved to be one of the most exciting matches of day 2 due to the attacking play on show and the do-or-die stakes going into the match. Knowing that Haiti had already clinched first in their group and that France was eliminated, second place—and a spot in the quarterfinals—was up for grabs.
In the end, the USA prevailed 2-1 to advance thanks to a second half penalty, eliminating England and moving on to face Poland in the quarterfinals next week.
The two high powered offenses—each of which averaged more than 2.6 goals per game over the last two years of Copa play—created plenty of chances but both teams were guilty of wastefulness in front of goal.
Things started out somewhat chippy as England's Paul Robinson earned a yellow in the 14th minute for a hard tackle on USA's Chris Bayon. The Americans delivery on set pieces was poor for the most part though and the free kick came to nothing.
American striker Kyle Clancy struck first in the 16th minute after finding space in the box and knocking in a shot to the top right post.
England quickly answered, though. Forward Kyle Harman charged down the field, played a 1-2 to a teammate and buried his from point blank range to tie the game at 1-1.
Shortly after the start of the second half, the Americans were awared a penalty kick that burly stiker, Andrew Herman buried.
The Americans conceded possesion after going ahead for the second time, knowing that a draw would be good enough to see them through to the quarterfinals. However England was unable to generate many clear cut chances and resorted to lumping it long to their tall strikers.
In the closing minutes, England were unable to find the equalizer off of headers from Adam Mitchinson and Paul Cowler.
The final whistle brought signs of joy and exhaustion from the undermanned Americans who know they narrowly survived the Group Stages of Cosmos Copa and must improve if they have any chance of getting past the mighty NYC Poland.
Man of the Match: Andrew Herman (NYC USA)