Gift goal haunts Austria

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Austria scored early and should have scored late to win its opening game at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup yesterday at Commonwealth Stadium.

However, midfielder Michael Madl attempted to pass off a gift deep into injury time that cost Austria the victory and forced it to settle for a 1-1 tie with Congo.

"The problem was that I had too many thoughts in my mind," Madl said through an interpreter. "I thought about taking the shot myself. Then I saw Rubin Okotie and he was unmarked. Then the goalkeeper came out, so there were too many thoughts. In the end the pass to Rubin wasn't that good."

JUDGED ONSIDE

On essentially the final attack of the game, Madl was judged to be onside as the ball was lofted to him over the Congolese defence.

Madl went in all alone on net, but instead of putting his head down and firing a shot, he tried to slide the ball across to Okotie.

But the ball was played behind the Austrian striker, who couldn't get enough of to roll it past Congo's goaltender Destin Onka.

"I expected a long ball and I looked before the ball came and I saw that I wasn't offside," Madl said.

"So I wasn't surprised I was not called offside."

Madl might have been the only one in the stadium who didn't think he was offside -- other than the linesman, of course.

All the Congolese defenders had pushed up and expected the Madl to be flagged offside. But when the whistle didn't blow the Austrians were handed a fabulous chance to score the winning goal.

"Both teams had chances to win, but because our chance came so late, the tie was a bit hard to take," Madl said.

"But we have to look forward to our next game now."

The final act brought an end to an entertaining contest in front of an announced crowd of 19,899. The game was the first of nine taking place in Edmonton during the tournament.

On Thursday, Austria faces Canada and Congo goes up against Chile in a double header.

"I thought Austria started out well with their two fast strikers," said Congolese head coach Eddie Hudanski. "But then we started to calm down and started to get some chances. In the end, I thought it was a fair result."

Austria opened the scoring in the seventh minute as Erwin Hoffer struck for the Europeans.

After the goal, Congo began to find its form and had a couple of opportunities to tie it.

"After we scored, I think we lost a bit of concentration," Hoffer said. "I also think Congo started to play better then we did and it got difficult for us to get into the game again."

Congo got tit tying goal in the second half when the ball fell to Franchel Ibara at the edge of the penalty area. The striker went in on goal and was taken down by Austrian defender Thomas Panny.

Ibara went on to take the ensuing penalty and scored, but was forced to take the kick again when one of his teammates ran into the area early.

Undaunted, Ibara scored on his second opportunity.


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