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U-17 World Cup: Weah’s hat-trick flattens Paraguay in pre-quarters


New Delhi, Oct 16: Tim Weah scored thrice as the United States swept past Paraguay 5-0 to storm into the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

Tim, son of former World Player of the Year, African Player of the Century and Liberian football legend George Weah, bulged the net in the 19th, 53rd and 77th minutes. 

In the previous three matches, he had not scored but on the day he did, the Paris Saint-Germain talent gave a good account of his lineage.
Andrew Carleton (63rd) and Josh Sargent (74th) were the scorers of the other two goals.
Paraguay showed their typical aggressive box-to-box football from the start. Though they created a couple of half chances, the finishing was lacking.

An unmarked Leonardo Sanchex failed to reach a cross from the right. Then attacking midfielder Alan Rodriguez saw couple of his darting runs being halted in front of the goal.
The Americans absorbed the pressure and waited for the counter-attack chances. Paraguay didn't relent, sending a lot of men to attack.

The US, however, grabbed the lead in the 19th minute when Andrew Carleton released right winger Ayo Akinola with a long through ball and the latter passed to the centre of the box where Weah shot past Paraguay goalkeeper Diego Huesca at the left post.
The goal allowed the US to keep things under control. Their defenders generally started the build-up play and once they won the ball in the midfield, they looked for counter-attacking chances as Paraguay defence stood high of the pitch.
Paraguay, however, kept generating chances and the pace of their wingers helped them penetrated the US defence. 

Allan was the fulcrum of Paraguayan attack. Linking the midfield and the attack, he got further two chances, but to no avail. Once from the left and once from the centre of the box, his shots missed the goal by a whisker.

But the Paraguayans got tired after around the 35-minute mark and the US should have doubled their advantage. But they didn't. 

While Chris Goslin's ripping 30-yard free-kick crashed the cross-bar, Carleton's cross from left by-line to Ayo Akinola at the far post was brilliantly blocked on the goal-line by Marcelo Rolon as the US held a slim advantage going into the half-time break.

They got their deserving second goal eight minutes into the second half when Weah weaved past couple of defenders before unleashing a right-footed flick which gave Valencia keeper Huesca no chance at the right post.

Ten minutes later, Carleton made it an impregnable 3-0 as he received a cut-back from Josh Sargent before sweeping home.

Trailing 0-3, Paraguay had no other chance but to attack. It resulted in them conceding another counter-attack and captain Sargent fired it high under the bar from inside the box to make it 4-0 in the 74th minutes.

Three minutes later, it was 5-0 after Tim Weah finished off a cross from Carleton, who was fed by Akinola at the right side of the box.

At the other end of the pitch, US keeper Justin Garces tipped over the bar a flick from Blas Armoa as the US sauntered to the big victory.

The US will face the winner between England and Japan who face-off in Kolkata on Tuesday.
(Abhishek Purohit can be contacted at [email protected])

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