South Africa got their campaign to a shaky start on Monday night as Costa Rica completed an opening victory in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, thanks to a fine performance by Andy Reyes.
The No9 scored a penalty after he had set up Kevin Masis’s opener in a 2-0 win. Khanyisa Mayo’s late header was not enough for the African side, who rallied in the second half before Reyes’s sucker punch penalty.
The opener came just seven minutes in, with some good interchange of play down the Costa Rican right. Roberto Cordoba played an incisive pass that found Reyes inside the penalty area. He delivered a precise cross to the back post, which found the sliding Kevin Masis with a left-footed finish.
After a difficult opening period for the African side, coach Molefi Ntseki must have given the Amajimbos something of a pep talk, as his young charges came out with renewed determination. Two big chances fell the way of Khanyisa Mayo, with the South Africa forward first squandering a close-range effort after a whipped delivery into the area, and then heading over from short range from a corner.
Ntseki’s team were made to rue those missed opportunities, as the Ticos doubled their advantage. Katlego Mohamme was adjudged to have handballed a Roberto Cordoba shot and Reyes slamsed the spot kick home, to the goalkeeper’s right, despite Mondli Mpoto guessing the right way.
In the closing stages of the game, Reeve Frosler’s cross from the left flank found the previously profligate Mayo. His header looped over the stranded goalkeeper Barrientos and into the net.
Fifa.com reports that South Africa will gather themselves for their next clash against Korea DPR on Thursday, while Costa Rica face Russia in the day’s other Group E clash.