epa05985549 Ali Shahsavari (L) of Iran heads the ball while in action against Fashion Sakala (R) of Zambia during the group stage match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Zambia and Iran at the Jeju World Cup Stadium in Jeju Island, South Korea, 24 May 2017. EPA/WALLACE WOON
Saturday May 27, 2017. 12:23
Despite losing their last Group C game of the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup 1-0 to Costa Rica at the Cheonan Sports Complex on Saturday, Zambia still finished top the standings.
Zambia qualified for the knockout stages of the competition with six points from three games after previously beating Portugal 2-1 and Iran 4-2.
Despite the victory Costa Rica still finished third in the group with four points, behind Portugal who also have points but a superior goal difference after beating Iran 2-1 also on Saturday.
To be fair Zambia were never really in the game at the Cheonan Sports Complex with Costa Rica controlling the flow of play from the opening whistle.
Costa Rica made their early pressure tell when they won a penalty in the 15th minute. Jostin Daly stepped up to take the spot-kick, but saw his effort superbly saved by goalkeeper Mangani Banda.
Unfortunately, though, for the Zambians Daly was quickest to react and slotted home the rebound to give Costa Rica the lead, 1-0.
Zambia controlled a brief period of play after going behind, but they struggled to penetrate the Costa Rica defence.
Instead, it was the South American team who went into the break bossing matter and with a 1-0 lead.
Costa Rica continued in the same manner after the break and were unlucky not to doubled their lead in the 66th minute when an effort from Randal Leal struck the woodwork.
Zambia tried to find their way back into the game in the final twenty minutes of the game and nearly drew level in the 89th minute, but Patson Daka’s effort from long range came off the crossbar.
In the end Costa Rica held on for a narrow 1-0 win.