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Jese fires Spain into World Cup U20 quarter-finals

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

ISTANBUL - Spain striker Jese scored in injury time as his team came from behind to beat Mexico 2-1 and reach the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup yesterday.

Jese's strike from outside the area was deflected by Mexico defender Abel Fuentes and goalkeeper Richard Sanchez could only dive over the ball. It was Jese's fifth goal of the tournament.

Arturo Gonzalez scored for Mexico in the second minute of the first knockout round match. Spain defender Derik equalised from a corner in the 74th.

Spain, the only team to have won all their matches this tournament, will next play Uruguay or Nigeria.

Also, Uzbekistan reached the last eight by defeating Greece 3-1 in a match that included three penalties and two red cards. Uzbekistan have never gone beyond the group stage before and will now face France or host Turkey.

Mexico stunned tournament favourites Spain in the opening minutes when Gonzalez came in from the left and sent a diagonal shot past goalkeeper Daniel Sotres.

Spain, the European Under-19 champions, recovered quickly and found their usual rhythm of short passes and moves in midfield. However, Spain struggled to reach their forwards against Mexico's well-placed defence.

The South Americans, who missed suspended midfielder Jesus Escoboza, created danger through quick counterattacks, though Raul Lopez's header in the 19th went just over and a thundering 20-metre shot by Jorge Espericueta hit the crossbar in the 31st.

Spain continued to dominate possession in the second half as they gained control of the match. The Mexican defence started to falter and Spain finally got the chances they had been looking for.

Captain Paco Alacacer was set up by Jese in the 51st but keeper Sanchez saved his low shot with his left foot.

The game turned around when Mexico left Derik unmarked when he received a corner kick at the far post, leaving the defender an easy chance to level the score.