U20WC: Costa Rica falls narrowly to Iran on late goal

Costa Rica's Luis Hernandez (red jersey) battles with Reza Shekari of Iran during their FIFA U-20 World Cup match on May 21, 2017, in Seogwipo, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

SEOGWIPO, Korea Republic – Mohammad Mehdi Mehdikhani struck late as Iran topped Costa Rica 1-0 in the opening match for each in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday at Jeju World Cup Stadium.

In the other Group C match, Zambia earned a 2-1 win over Portugal.

The game’s only goal was scored in the 81st minute, when Reza Shekari’s left-sided cross appeared to take a deflection before falling to Mehdikhani in the box. From 15-yards out, the 19-year-old forward snapped a left-footed shot that slipped in between the right post and diving goalkeeper Erick Pineda.

Costa Rica held advantages in possession (60%-40%) and shots attempted (15-10), but it didn’t force Iran goalkeeper Nima Mirzazad into making any saves.

Next up for Costa Rica: Wednesday, May 24 v Portugal