From zero to hero

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

Austrian head coach Paul Gludovatz wanted to have an ace in the hole for his FIFA Under-20 second-round match against Gambia.

That card happened to be Erwin "Jimmy" Hoffer.

Last night in front of 18,721 at Commonwealth Stadium, the striker came off the bench to score the winning goal giving Austria a 2-1 victory over Gambia.

"Before the game I was thinking we might have to go into extra time against Gambia," Gludovatz said. "And I wanted to have Joker (wild card) to play in case that happened."

Hoffer who scored in Austria's opening game against Congo, started the contest on the bench as a substitute.

He was replaced in the starting lineup by Rubin Okotie as Austrian's lone striker up front.

However when Gambia's Pierre Gomez tied the game 1-1 in the 69th minute Hoffer was immediately brought on.

It took only 10 minutes for him to score, taking down a pass from Veli Kavlak in just outside the six-yard box and blasting a shot over Gambian goaltender Joseph Gomez.

After scoring the goal, Hoffer ran towards the bench and gave his coach a hug.

"He (Gludovatz) told me that I was going to go in and score a goal," Hoffer said. "I was disappointed not to be in the starting lineup because every player that doesn't start is a little bit disappointed. But in the end it worked out well."

Hoffer's goal sent Austria into the quarterfinals against the United States who beat Uruguay 2-1 in extra-time last night in Toronto. It's the first time Austria has ever advanced this far in a world championship tournament.

"I was very happy with the game," Gludovatz said. "I thought everyone played well. I thought we lost some energy in the second half but we were able to come out with the win."

The Austrians opened the scoring late the first half as captain Sebastian Proedl leapt above everyone to get a head on a free kick from Kavlak which rolled past Gambian goalkeeper Joseph Gomez.

"I was very happy to score the goal," said Proedl, who is a central defender.

"Playing with my head is my specialty. It was important to score that goal just before halftime.

"In the second half we didn't play as well and Gambia was the better team. But we were lucky in the end."

Gambia, taking part in their first Under-20 World Cup, were forced to play a man short after midfielder Tijan Jaiteh picked up two yellow cards in the first 43 minutes.

"I can't say much about the decision of the referee," said Gambia's head coach Peter Johnson. "To him it was a cautionable offence. But it was difficult to lose a man at that time of the game in such a tough game."

Despite being a man down, Gambia created the better chances in the second half.

Eventually Gambia scored the tying goal as Pierre Gomez intercepted a Martin Harnik clearing attempt and slid the ball into the far corner.


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