Soccer / champions

Mali Crown CAF U-20 Nations Cup: Defeats Senegal in Niger
image One interesting fact about this year CAF U-20 Nations Cup was the two teams which happened to be the final has never won the competition before which has been dominated by Nigerian Flying Eagles. With South Africa having beaten Nigeria to win the 3rd place in a penalty shootout and their first win over the Nigerian teams earlier on the focus was shifted to the grand finally. The final match took place on Sunday in Niger when Senegal who were tipped the favourite to lift the trophy between both side were left to moan their lose after a hectic and exhausted 90 minutes and extra time given. Malian play maker and Bizertin midfielder Boubacar Traore put his Malian teams on the drivers seat as early as the 16th minutes after the referees whistle but they couldn’t stand the pressure the Senegal team mounted on them in the second half of the encounter just at the final quarter of the regulation time before French side Metz striker Amadou Ndiaye equalized for Senegal 15 minutes before time. There was a very big disappointment on the faces of the Malians team who well hoping to hold on the lead to the 90th minutes. This led to contest split into extra time. Both teams became very cautious at the extra time not to make the last mistake of the game and with no side able to separate themselves from the other. After 30 minutes of unadventurous extra time, the match went into penalty shootout which was to decide the winner of the tournament. The Senegal side were the biggest losers after losing 3-2 in the penalties to their third lost in the finals of the tournament. Football can be very funny most times when the best get to lose and the worst get to win. Senegal out played the Malian side from all departments on the pitch but it was not their lucky day. One threat in Malian team is Sekou Koita who is 19 years old playing his trade with Austrians giants Salzburg, the wonder kid who is on loan to FC Liefering is regarded as the most experience of all the players in the Malians teams and most promising young star coming up in the rank of Malians future stars. His ability with the ball and hunger to score had been a threat to opponent who finds it difficult to curtail his excesses. To reach the finals of the CAF U-20 Nations Cup final, Mali ensured that they defeated the 7 times champions of the tournament Nigeria following a 1-1 stalemate on full time and extra time regulations but went to punish the Nigerians for their missed opportunities the penalty shout out which they won to slug it out with Senegal in the final. After the Nigeria game he spoke to the press and emphasized why they were at the tournament “We are here to make sure we go back home with the trophy. I did not come to do things individually, rather to play as a team to achieve our goal.” The four teams that made it to the semi finals which include South Africa, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal are all qualified to represent the continents in the FIFA U-20 World Cup that will be hosted by Poland later in the year. The Malian team, I say Congratulations

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