Ghana, Mali in fierce clash today

23 October, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • Mali U17 Pogba

In an all-African tie to decide the first team to contest in the competition's semi-final, Mali held on to a 2-1 victory, with goals from Drame and Traore enough to see off their Ghanaian opponents.

After the first 15 minutes of play, when the ball was rolling evenly on most parts of the pitch, the rainfall increased in intensity and the pitch began to take in more water than it could drain. However, experience, a word that is a paradox given the nature of this youth tournament, became the undoing of Ghana as Mali waddled through hard conditions to become the first side to register a spot in the final four of the competition. Though Ghana improved as the game progressed and had a goal cancelled (in the 40th minute), which their coach Samuel Fabin openly criticised after the match, they were definitely not the better side on the day.

Mali came close to finding the target but Hadji Drames right footer from inside the box missed the right post by some margin in the sixth minute. The winger drilled a low effort into the net after Drame had opened the scoring for Mali.

"Its a disappointing result and the field also did not help much".

On the other end, Eric Ayiah failed to showcase his poaching instincts as Ibrahim Sulley set him up but three minutes later, Mali broke the deadlock. Sadiq Ibrahim returned from suspension but did not find a place in the starting eleven.


Mali, who made their second semi-final in a row, will sit back and learn of their opponents on Sunday-one of Spain or Iran.

The last twenty minutes looked anything but a quarter-final of a FIFA tournament-the pitch looked at its ugliest ever since competitive football has been played on it.

"The game should have been abandoned and played another time but then the organisers said we have to play and so we played", Fabin said when asked about his opinion whether the game should have been played today.

Mali continued to make repeated build-ups as Jiddou and Mohamed Camara took control in the middle.

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