U-17 WC: Nigeria & Mali set up all-African final
Nigeria and Mali overcame Mexico and Belgium respectively in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 to set up an all-African final
In just their fourth appearance at this level, this Mali team achieved something that no other Malian national side at any category has ever achieved, which is to reach a final of any showpiece FIFA tournament after coming from behind to claim a 3-1 victory against Belgium.
The Europeans had taken the lead through Dante Rigo, but Boubacar Traore’s swift response was followed by a somewhat fortunate second goal from Sidiki Maiga after a goalkeeper error, after which a late Sekou Koita composed finish was enough to seal a Malian victory.
Defending champions Nigeria, booked themselves a place in the final for an astonishing eighth time courtesy of a 4-2 win against Mexico. Like Mali, Nigeria were also tested to the limit by an entertaining Mexico team, and in the process both sides produced what might have been the game of the tournament.
Mexico opened the scoring through Kevin Magana, Nigeria hit back with stunning efforts from Kelechi Nwakali and Orji Okwonkwo seeing the African side ahead at half time. Mexico’s Diego Cortes’s remarkable solo effort which might be the goal of the tournament levelled matters, before Osinachi Ebere and Victor Osimhen’s late record-equaling penalty saw the Golden Eaglets set up an all-African final.
The two African sides will lock horns Vina Del Mar for the ultimate prize on Sunday, while Mexico will face off against Belgium in the match for third place earlier the same day.