Aliou Balde and Amete Faye rose from the bench to inspire Senegal to come from behind and beat the USA 4-1 in a Fifa Under-17 World Cup Group D game at the Estadio Kleber Jose de Andrade in Cariacica, Brazil on Sunday.
It was a dream start for Senegal in their maiden appearance at the tournament as Souleymane Faye cancelled out USA’s lead they had taken through Gianluca Busio, while Pape Sarr wrapped-up the rout late on.
Busio had thrust the Americans ahead by heading into the bottom right corner a cross from Joseph Scally as early as three minutes into the match.
A minute earlier, Busio was denied by Senegal goalkeeper Ousmane Ba as the United States threatened to go on a rampage.
But Senegal launched some spirited attacks as they fought back, mainly resorting to long-range goal attempts.
Issaga Kane, Samba Diallo, Sarr and Cheikh Diouf all tried shots from outside the box but either missed the target, had their attempts blocked or found United States goalkeeper Damian Las alert to the danger.
Souleymane Faye also came close to equalising twice, but from inside the box as the Teranga Lions cubs relentlessly probed the Americans.
Senegal’s persistence from long-range finally paid off when Faye struck just before the half-time whistle with a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner for a 1-1 scoreline going into the break.
The Africans picked up from where they had left off with defender Mikayil Faye and Insa Boye having shots inside the first seven minutes after the restart.
It was again Busio who tried to restore the United States’ lead after combining with Adam Armour but his attempt went wide.
This time around, the United States temporarily seized control of possession with Tayvon Gray twice watched his shots fail to breach the Senegal defence while Armour shot wide two minutes later.
But Senegal managed to hold their ground and took the lead in the 72nd minute through substitute Balde who fired into the high centre of the goal just 13 minutes after coming on for Boye.
Another Senegal substitute Amete Faye also beat Las from close range four minutes later to put the young Teranga Lions firmly in control of the game.
Amete Faye’s goal appeared to have sapped the energy out of the Americans who did little to claw their way into the match and were reduced to 10 men following a red card for Gray on 87 minutes.
Sarr then killed the game as a contest with Senegal’s fourth goal by completing the rout with a free-kick that gave Las no chance two minutes from time.
Senegal will now face Netherlands in their next Group D match on Wednesday.