Sidiki-Maiga

U-17 WC PREVIEW: Mali vs Belgium

Published On 05/11/2015 | By Ravi Pahalwani | Africa, Europe, Features, International, Latest News, Mali, Nigeria, Top Stories

Mali are hoping to reach their first final when they face Belgium for the second time in La Serena.

The Malians and Belgians have already faced each other in Chile, but this time the scenario is very different to what it was three weeks ago. Mali completely dominated the group fixture, but failed to pick up the three points due to some poor finishing.

Since then, it seems that they have seemingly solved that problem, scoring 2.25 goals per match, while continuing to showcase great defensive capabilities – they have now gone almost five hours without conceding.

Belgium have improved the tactical side of their game beyond recognition, they have become a dogged unit that excels at closing down space. They no longer have the look of a team that barely managed two attempts on goal – neither of which found the target when they faced Mali.

Although Belgium have found the net just five times at the tournament, three of those strikes having come in the knock-out stage during which they are also yet to concede a goal, shows characteristics of a team growing in stature and confidence.

One to watch

Sidiki Maiga – With two goals and an assist from the 16-year-old, with the least amount of pitch time compared to the other Mali attackers, Maiga will surely have a say in tonight’s crucial game. Modelling himself on Belgium and Chelsea star Eden Hazard, his pace and dribbling is sure to give Belgium a headache.

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