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2017 FIFA U17 World Cup: Impressive Mali cruise into Round of 16

Published on: 12 October 2017
NEW DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 12: Djemoussa Traore (C) of Mali celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his team's second goal to make it 2-0 during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 group A match between Mali and New Zealand at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 12, 2017 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Mali secured their spot in the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 after an assured 3-1 victory over New Zealand in New Delhi.

Wednesday’s result sees them finish second behind Group B winners Paraguay, while New Zealand miss out on the knockout stages after claiming one point from their three group matches.

The Eaglets dominated proceedings at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, hitting the woodwork on two occasions during the contest, and deservedly took the lead through Salam Jiddou’s excellent strike on 18 minutes. Djemoussa Traore played the ball back into the path of the midfielder, whose first-time finish found the top corner of the New Zealand goal.

Traore was a constant threat down the left for Mali, and five minutes after the break, he doubled the African side’s lead with a fine curling effort into the far corner of the net.

It looked like Mali were on course to a comfortable win, but New Zealand had other ideas on 72 minutes, as substitute Charles Spragg headed home an Elijah cross to halve the deficit.

However, any hopes that the Oceania side had of a comeback ended ten minutes later, as Lassana N'Diaye scored his third goal of the tournament when he knocked home Fode Konate’s searching low cross on the break to seal victory for the Chile 2015 runners-up.

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