May 21, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Rodrigo Amaral scored from a second-half free kick as Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 Sunday in their opening game at the Under-20 World Cup at Suwon World Cup Stadium.

With 14 minutes remaining, Nacional forward Amaral fired home a spectacular left-footed shot to give the South American champion the only goal of the game.

Just before the break, Uruguay was awarded a penalty after Joaquin Ardaiz was fouled in the area and referee Walter Lopez consulted the video assistant referee.

Captain Nicolas de la Cruz stepped up only to see his kick saved by Andrea Zaccagno.

Both teams continued to have chances to start their campaign with a victory but Amaral, introduced 10 minutes into the second half, broke the deadlock in powerful fashion.

''We expected a difficult game and that is what we got,'' Uruguay coach Fabian Coito said. ''The important thing is that we got three points but there is a long way to go.''

Also in Group D, Japan came back from a goal down to defeat South Africa 2-1.

Grant Margeman put South Africa ahead after just seven minutes, only for Koki Ogawa to equalize three minutes into the second half.

With seven minutes remaining, Ritsu Doan fired home from close range to give Japan the victory.

Zambia went top in Group C with a 2-1 win over Portugal at Jeju World Cup Stadium.

Edward Chilufya put Zambia ahead six minutes into the second half. Fashion Sakala doubled the lead and Zambia held on despite a late goal from Portugal's Helder Ferreira.

Iran is second after a 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Mehdi Mehdikani scored with nine minutes left.

Sixteen of the 24 teams will progress to the second round - the top two teams from each of the six groups and four of the best third-placed finishers.

The final is in Suwon on June 11.

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