Colombia defeated South Korea in Sydney to win the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The South Americans took the lead after Catalina Usme converted a penalty kick, and then teenager Linda Caicedo, 18, doubled the advantage after Korean goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul made a mistake.

That was sufficient for Colombia to secure their second victory in the competition.

Casey Phair made history for South Korea by becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever player. The forward, who was only 16 years, 26 days old, was added in the 77th minute.

The Asian nation, which have now dropped all four of its Women’s World Cup opening matches, will play Morocco on July 30 in a game that they must win in Group H before Colombia takes on Germany.

In an effort to put the Colombians at ease, South Korea made two defensive mistakes in the first half that gave the visitors a two-goal advantage.

On minute 28, Shim Seo-yeon used her arm to deflect a shot that was aimed at the goal, putting an end to a frantic play sequence that included numerous deflections and shoddy shots.

Usme calmly scored the winning penalty kick, setting off wild celebrations among the yellow-shirted supporters.

In a terrible moment for goalkeeper Yoon, Caicedo doubled Colombia’s lead to spell disaster for South Korea.

Real Madrid winger Caicedo was given too much room and time to run at the defence down the left, but when she cut inside, Yoon mistimed her jump and the ball went through her gloves and into the goal.

Nevertheless, Caicedo’s perseverance, talent, and foresight showed why, at the age of only 18, she is one of the most hotly anticipated young stars of the competition.

Her goal made her the second-youngest player to score at a Women’s World Cup, after Brazil’s Marta, who did so aged 17 in 2003.

AFP

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