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US Under-20 Soccer Team Qualifies for FIFA World Youth Championship


The U.S. under-20 football (soccer) team has qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championship by defeating Panama, 2-0, (late Friday) in the second game of a CONCACAF Group A qualifying doubleheader in Carson, California.

Freddy Adu converted a penalty kick in the 55th minute, and Jacob Peterson found the net in the 90th minute to clinch the U.S. victory.

In the first game, Costa Rica used goals by Franklin Chacon and Alonzo Salazar to edge Trinidad and Tobago, 2-1.

Qualifying matches continue on Sunday. The United States plays Costa Rica, which is on course to earn the second Group A berth for the championship round, to be played later this year in the Netherlands. Panama, which drew against Costa Rica on Wednesday, could slip ahead of Costa Rica if it beats Trinidad and Tobago by at least three goals.

Qualifiers for Group B - Canada, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico - begins later this month (January 26-30) Honduras.

In other soccer news, Greek soccer clubs Olympiakos Piraeus and Panionios have been docked three points each and will have to play their next four home games behind closed doors as punishment for violence that broke out at their Greek first division match last Sunday.

The ruling followed serious clashes that left 14 policemen and one fan injured, and that forced the postponement of the game. Both clubs have the right to appeal the decision.

Olympiakos was also fined $393,000, while Panionios will have to pay $131,000 as part of the government's crackdown on soccer-related violence. The point deduction means that Olympiakos drops from first to third place with 27 points, while Panionios has 13 points and drops from ninth to 14th place and into the relegation zone.

The punishment handed down late Friday by a Greek soccer tribunal was the most severe ever imposed on clubs in the country's soccer league. The tribunal also ruled that last Sunday's game will not be replayed and that neither team will get any points.

Some information provided by AP.

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