Rampant Brazil to face Serbia in Under-20 World Cup final
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- Brazil was ''perfect'' in its own eyes but ''lucky'' in the eyes of its vanquished opponent after a 5-0 win over Senegal on Wednesday which moved the favorites into Saturday's final of the under-20 World Cup against Serbia.
A neutral observer would find it easier to agree with Brazil coach Rogerio Micale's assessment of the game than his Senegal counterpart Joseph Seto, as the African team was down 4-0 and playing with 10 men by halftime.
Seto's side was without Mouhameth Sane, one of its key central defenders, due to suspension, and then lost another, Elimane Cisse to a red card.
Both his yellows seemed fair, but Seto disagreed. Speaking through an interpreter, he said his side had now had two ''rough experiences'' with Italian referee Daniele Orsato.
''I do want to congratulate Brazil, the better team won,'' Seto said.
Brazil dominated possession, territory and was far more composed. The five-time champion had been far from assured in its two preceding knock-out matches, beating both Uruguay and Portugal in penalty shootouts after scoreless draws.
It soon rediscovered its attacking prowess, rushing out to a two-goal lead after seven minutes, before adding a third after 19.
Everything it touched turned to gold and even an innocuous pass into the six-yard box in the fifth minute was accidentally redirected into the Senegal goal by Sane's replacement Andelinou Correa.
From then, the semifinal was a mismatch. Brazilian striker Marcos Guilherme scored twice and was joined on the score sheet by Jorge and Boschilia.
Senegal had a handful of chances but couldn't break the Brazilian defense which has now kept a 502-minute long clean-sheet dating back to the eighth minute of its second game against Hungary.
Brazilian coach Micale said the goals were always going to come after failing to capitalize on chances in earlier games.
''We've been creating plenty of chances,'' he said. ''Today we scored them.
''Everybody was perfect today. We did some good games at this World Cup, we had some problems which is natural, but we have grown during the competition and with the different games, the strong matches we had, we've reached the final with a huge game today and we expect to do it again in the final.''Serbia needed extra time to beat 10-man Mali 2-1 at North Harbour Stadium.
Serbia's Ivan Saponjic (L) is challenged by Mali's Hamidou Maiga of Mali (R) during the U20 World Cup semi-final.
Milos Veljkovic's header found Ivan Saponjic, who nodded the ball past Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra to give the Serbians a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes of extra time to play.
Andrija Maksimovic's early goal had set the tone for an imposing Serbian side, before Youssouf Kone's equalizer helped Mali regain its confidence before halftime.
Kone received a second yellow card to all but end Mali's hopes of victory and to allow Serbia to hold on for the win.
Serbia previously won the under-20 title competing as Yugoslavia in 1987.