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Cancer Survivor Caicedo Scores in Colombia’s 2-0 Win over South Korea at the Women’s World Cup

AP Photo/Rick Rycroft
Colombia’s Linda Caicedo, left, and South Korea’s JI So-yun compete for the ball during the Women’s World Cup Group H soccer match between Colombia and South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

SYDNEY (AP) — Cancer survivor Linda Caicedo scored on her debut at the Women’s World Cup as Colombia beat South Korea 2-0 on Tuesday.

The Real Madrid forward, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 15, fired in her country’s second goal of the match at Sydney Football Stadium before racing toward Colombia’s fans in celebration.

The 18-year-old Caicedo, who is an inspirational figure on and off the field, further enhanced her reputation as one of soccer’s rising stars with her goal and performance as Colombia made a winning start to the tournament.

In a moment for the history books for talented teens, 16-year-old Casey Phair became the youngest-ever player in the Women’s World Cup when she went on as a second-half substitute for South Korea.

By then, it was too late.

The Colombians took the lead from a penalty in the 30th minute after Shim Seo-yeon handled a goal-bound effort from Manuela Vanegas in the area. Catalina Usme converted from the spot, sending South Korean goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul the wrong way when placing her shot to the left of the net.

Caicedo’s goal came at the end of a darting run from midfield, which saw her cut in from the left before curling a shot from the edge of the box. Her effort appeared too central to trouble Yoon, but the keeper got her positioning wrong and instead fumbled it into the net.

Lee Geum-min was close to pulling a goal back for the Koreans at the end of the half, but was denied by the flying save of Catalina Perez.

Colombia had a late chance to score a third, which would have seen it record its biggest ever win at the tournament, but a miscommunication between Usme and Vanegas meant a promising break came to nothing.

These were the last two teams to begin their campaigns in Australia and New Zealand, and it was the 300th game in Women’s World Cup history.

The win could be crucial to Colombia’s chances of advancing to the round of 16 after Germany delivered a statement of intent in Group H with a 6-0 rout of Morocco on Monday.

WHAT’S NEXT

Colombia and Germany meet in Sydney on Sunday, while South Korea and Morocco face each other in Adelaide on the same day.