Yangel Herrera scored the winning goal in extratime for Venezuela. (Trevor Ruszkowski?USA TODAY Sports)
DAEJEON, Korea — Team captain Yangel Herrera and Venezuela are headed to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup quarterfinals because of, well, the New York City FC’ midfielder’s header.
Herrera headed in an extratime goal to lift the South Americans to a 1-0 victory over Japan as they reached the final eight teams of the competition for the first time Tuesday.
The City midfielder had a header that sailed just wide in the second half, but he connected the second time he had an opportunity during extratime off a corner kick. Herrera leaped high into the air and nodded the ball past Ryosuke Kojima with 12 minutes remaining at Daejon World Cup Stadium.
The Venezuelans held off the Japanese to move into the elite eight, where they will meet the winner of Thursday’s United States-New Zealand match on June 4.
If that confrontation occurs, it will feature young and promising holding midfielders from the area rivals — the Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams of the U.S. and Herrera — in a Hudson River derby of sorts halfway around the world.