July 21, 2024

FIFA U-17 World Cup:Magnificent Mali Maul Mexico To Reach Quarter-final

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By Sedara Philip

Mali made light work of Concacaf champions Mexico in the last 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023, with Mahamoud Barry among the stars.


Mahamoud Barry scored twice and laid on another as Mali stormed through to the last eight with a stunning demolition of Mexico in Surabaya.


Les Aigles were irresistible throughout, with the outcome all-but settled inside a one-sided opening 15 minutes in which the outclassed Mexicans conceded three times.


Barry was the difference-maker during this period, with his superb opening goal – curled home from 20 yards at the end of a flowing Mali move – setting the tone for what was to follow.


The athletic No19’s second goal came just four minutes later, and from a near-identical position, with clever approach work again capped by a powerful and precise finish from inside the D.


Mexico simply had no answer to their African opponents, and fell further behind soon after when Ibrahim Diarra’s left-foot effort sneaked past Paolo Bedolla and into the bottom-left corner.


The Concacaf champions’ keeper was left thumping the ground in frustration again when Mali went 4-0 up, having again got a hand to the ball, but not a firm enough contact to prevent Ibrahim Kanate’s penalty finding the net.


Mali’s dominance was maintained in the second half, and Barry helped apply salt to Mexican wounds with a teasing 50th-minute cross that was matched in quality by Ange Martial Tia’s brilliant diving header.


The impressive Africans can now look forward to a quarter-final against either IR Iran or continental rivals Morocco, the team that beat them on penalties in the CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

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