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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Mali Crush New Zealand 3-1 to Enter Knock-outs

It was a must win game for New Zealand but Mali showed why they are genuine title contenders as a dominating performance saw them win 3-1 over the All Whites at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday.

Arjit Dabas | News18 Sports

Updated:October 12, 2017, 7:11 PM IST
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Mali Crush New Zealand 3-1 to Enter Knock-outs
Image Credits. (FIFA/Twitter)
New Delhi: It was a must win game for New Zealand but Mali showed why they are genuine title contenders as a dominating performance saw them win 3-1 over the All Whites at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday.

Mali started to attack right from the first whistle, with New Zealand looking to play on the counter. The African Giants chose a high defensive line, which showed the confidence they were playing with.

But it wasn’t as if New Zealand didn’t have their chances, in fact skipper Max Mata had the first big chance of the game in the 4th minute, when he was put on goal via a beautiful through ball from Elijah Just, but the New Zealand skipper hit his shot straight at the keeper.

Just, who was easily New Zealand’s best player on the pitch was the only creative spark for his side.

Mali were constantly raiding the young All Whites goal, and were rewarded for their effort in the 19th minute, when Salam Jiddou hit a long range shot into the top corner, beyond the reach of New Zealand no.1 Zac Jones.

The goal had the few Mali supporters in attendance dancing with joy, and the team reciprocated the gesture on the pitch as they started to play some free flowing football.

Lassana Ndiaye almost sealed things for Mali before the first half, but was unlucky as his shot across the goal came back after hitting the post.

Mali had 13 shots in the first half, compared to New Zealand’s three, which showed just how dominant the African side was in the first half.

New Zealand coach tried to change things in the second half, bringing on Charles Spragg for Matthew Palmer.

But that didn’t make much of a difference, as the New Zealand strikers were starved for service throughout the evening.

Mali got their second in the 51st minute, as Djemoussa Traore hit a beautiful curling shot into the bottom corner to double the lead for the Africans.

After that, Mali players controlled the game but couldn’t find that killer goal.

New Zealand got one back in the 72nd minute, when Just, who was the best player on the pitch for the All Whites, found substitute Spragg unmarked at the far post, and he tapped in a simple header to setup an exciting finale.

The goal sprang Mali back to life, and they did finally manage to find the third goal through Lassana Ndiaye – the forward’s third goal of the tournament – as he hit the back of the net in the 82nd minute to kill New Zealand’s hopes.

Paraguay’s victory in the other match meant Mali progressed as the second placed in team Group B and will now play their round-of-16 match in Goa.
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