(Photo Credit: FIFA.com)
Darren Bazeley’s New Zealand U-20 side have drawn 2-2 with Uzbekistan in their second Group B match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.
Goals from Benjamin Wallace in the 23rd minute and brilliant strike from Jay Herdman in the 41st minute gave New Zealand a 2-0 half-time lead.
Abbosbek Fayzullaev pulled a goal back for Uzbekistan in the 51st minute and then in the third minute of injury time a diving header by Sherzod Esanov rescued a point for the Asian champions.
“Uzbekistan are a very good team and piled on a lot of pressure and it kept coming. It was a shame to conceded so late but I am proud of the boys for their efforts.” Bazeley said.
New Zealand play Argentina in their final Group match on Saturday and may require a point after the hosts defeated Guatemala later on Wednesday morning, 3-0. Defeat for the Kiwis and a Uzbekistan over Guatemala win will see second place come down to goal difference.
Meanwhile Fiji have put up a brave fight but have been beaten 3-0 by the USA in their second Group match. It follows a 4-0 loss to Slovakia in their opener at the weekend.
The Junior Bula Boys held out until the 66th minute when Diego Luna fired the Americans in front. They added a second in the 88th minute through Cade Cowell and a third through Caleb Wiley deep into injury time.
Elsewhere in Group B, Ecuador overcame Slovakia 2-1, meaning Fiji are still in with a slight chance of qualifying for the Round of 16 going into the final group matches on Saturday morning.
New Zealand 2 (Benjamin WALLACE 23′ Jay HERDMAN 41′)
Uzbekistan 2 ( Abbosbek FAYZULLAEV 51′ Sherzod ESANOV 90+3′)
USA: 3 ( Diego LUNA 66′, Cade COWELL 88′, Caleb WILEY 90+7′)