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FCD's Sánchez backstops Mexico to U-17 WCup final

With a goal off a corner kick and another by way of a bicycle kick, FC Dallas 'keeper Richard Sánchez and Mexico’s U-17 squad came back to defeat tournament favorites Germany 3-2 in Torreón, Mexico, on Thursday to reach the World Cup final.

After Julio Gómez put El Tri up early, Sánchez could do nothing to keep Samed Yesli and Emre Can from putting Germany in the lead. However, Jorge Espericueta tied things up directly from a corner and Gómez’s spectacular goal two minutes from the end sent Mexico soaring into Sunday's final.

Energized by a loud home crowd, the young Mexicans launched into attack mode early on. Just three minutes into the match, Gómez tucked away a cross from Jorge Caballero to give El Tri the lead.

But it didn’t take long for the tournament’s top offense to answer back. In the ninth minute, Yesil took matters into his own hands. The German forward put his shot past an outstretched Sánchez to level the match.

While each side managed to threaten their opponent’s goal, it was Germany who imposed themselves physically and enjoyed the better of the play for the rest of the half.

In the second stanza, the hosts re-upped their efforts, but it was the Europeans who ended up getting the go-ahead goal in the 59th minute. Can led a counterattack and, with the ball at his feet, sped past the Mexican defenders and poked his shot past Sánchez.

With time running out, El Tri sent numbers forward. Despite peppering the goal with shots, Mexico were unable to find the equalizer.

Finally, in the 78th minute, Espericueta curled in a corner kick that sailed over everyone and nestled itself into the goal.

With just two minutes remaining, Gómez, who had been bloodied in a previous play, took to the air to seal Mexico’s ticket to the big dance. The striker took a corner on the fly and bicycle-kicked it into the bottom corner for the dramatic comeback win.

Mexico, who won the 2005 edition of the tournament behind Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela, will try for their second U-17 World Cup trophy when they face Uruguay at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday.

If the previous six matches are of any indication, Sánchez will be in goal for the big game.