It was a sour opening day for hosts Poland on Thursday as the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup got underway as they lost 0-2 to Colombia at Lodz in Group A.
Poland’s ambitions at the tournament rest squarely on the shoulders of defender Sebastian Walukiewicz.
He is considered one of his country’s brightest talents and will join Italian top-flight outfit Cagliari this summer.
However, it was his mistake that allowed Ivan Angulo to give Colombia the lead in the 23rd minute.
The hosts may have started with a defeat, but the 17,463 fans at the Lodz Stadium were nevertheless in fine voice.
They cheered their team on unconditionally in a festive atmosphere, in spite of falling behind, but Colombia brought their own energy and came away with a 2-0 victory at Lodz Stadium.
Angulo opened the scoring by capitalising on Walukiewicz’s errant pass, and he was tireless, making runs between defenders before being subbed off.
Colombia would go on to add a second goal late on, this time with substitute Luis Sandoval doing the damage.
Both teams will play again on Sunday, with Poland squaring off against a Tahiti side also looking for their first win, while Colombia take on Senegal at the top of Group A.
Fans were still settling into their seats and the clocks had only just ticked past 6 pm. local time in both Gdynia and Lublin when goals were scored at both venues.
But Senegal’s Amadou Sagna hit the target within seconds of kick-off against Tahiti and would go on to complete his hat-trick in the opening Group A fixture.
Sagna scored the fastest goal in competition history, breaking the deadlock for Senegal against Tahiti after just 9.6 seconds to surpass the previous best-mark set by Nigeria’s Monday Odiaka in 1985.
They never looked back after that, winning 3-0 at Lublin Stadium.
The Young Lions of Teranga were on their game from the off, piling on pressure and seizing control with a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes.
Sagna was not done turning heads after the first minute, either.
The 19-year-old netted a hat-trick in the Group A opener, scoring one final time in the 50th minute to secure all three points and a perfect start for the Africans.
In Group B, Davide Frattesi opened the scoring for Italy after three minutes to help his team to a narrow 2-1 win over a Mexico side with plenty of tournament experience.
South American champions Ecuador were unable to live up to their billing as favourites and, in spite of holding the lead at half-time, were held to a 1-1 draw by Japan.
On Friday at the competition, Honduras will take on New Zealand in Lublin and Uruguay face Norway in Lodz in Group C.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will be in action against Qatar at Tychy from 5 p.m. Nigeria time, while Ukraine will face the U.S. at Bielsko Biala in Group D’s other match.