Fifa U-20 World Cup Poland 2019: Mali Stun Argentina And Joins Senegal In The Quarter Finals Stage
After succeeding to hold Argentina in a 2-2 tie, the Malian team did Africa proud by edging their Argentinian counterparts 5-4 in post match penalty shootout. With this brilliant performance, African representation at the Quarter Finals this year has moved to two following Senegal’s triumph over Nigeria by two goals to one on Monday, 3rd June, 2019.
It was a very fine football encounter that opposed Mali against Argentina yesterday night at the 16th Finals of the U-20 World Cup that took place at the Miejski Bielsko-Biala Football Stadium in Poland. The first 45 minutes were filled with beautiful high moments of football as the Africans stood tall to the South American giants. Both teams circulated the ball well, completing good passes but nobody succeeded to lift the curtains.
When they returned for the last 45 minutes, the Argentinians pressed forward and multiplied assaults on the Malian goalkeeper. Just four minutes into the second half, A. Gaich of Argentina benefited from a Malian defensive error to score the opening goal, making it 1-0 in favour of the Argentinians.
The Malian team fought back and got the equalizer at the 67th minute thanks to a fine finish from A. Diaby, bringing the game back to square one. After ninety minutes of play, the two sides were held at parity forcing the central referee to give them 30 minutes for extra time. Just one minute into extra time, the Malian goal scorer of the night, A. Diaby scored a dramatic own goal to hand back the lead to the South Americans.
Despite this setback, the Malians found extra energy to go out and try to get the second goal that will keep their hopes of sailing through to the Quarter Finals alive. Their efforts paid off at the 120+1 minute when A. Konte broke Argentinian hearts with a second goal for Mali at stoppage time.
Mali went further to carry the day as she edged Argentina in post match penalties, 5-4, a veritable compensation for all the hard work and belief that animated the team. Africans who watched the match across the continent must have gone to bed yesterday, smiling and hoping that their two representatives who have continued the adventure in Poland, Mali and Senegal will bring home the trophy.
Mali will take on Italy in the Quarter Finals on Friday, 7th June, 2019 as from 5:30 pm meanwhile, Senegal will take on South Korea on Saturday, 8th June.
Isaac Ngong Kum