NEW DELHI, Oct 12: African champions Mali breezed into the knock-out rounds of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a dominating 3-1 win over New Zealand in their final group game here today.
Mali, the last edition’s runners-up, took the lead in the 18th minute through Salam Jiddou who struck a 25-yard stunner. The first goal supplier Djemoussa Traore then turned scorer in the 50th minute as he curled in a right footer into New Zealand net from top of the box.
Lassana Ndiaye scored the third goal for Mali in the 82nd minute while Charles Spragg scored the consolation goal for New Zealand in the 72nd minute at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Left winger Traore was a constant threat for the New Zealand defence throughout the match with his speed, ball control and deft footwork. He was supported well upfront by the likes of Jiddou, Mahamadou Samake and Hadji Drame.
Mali finished second in Group B with six points from two wins and booked a round of 16 berth. They had lost to Paraguay 2-3 in their campaign opener on October 6 in Mumbai before beating Turkey 3-0 in their previous match.
Paraguay topped the group with an all-win record. They beat Turkey 3-1 in Mumbai in the other Group B match today.
New Zealand and Turkey ended their group engagements with one point each and failed to advance to the round of 16.
The match, played in hot conditions, was dominated by Mali who had a ball possession of 61 per cent. They fired as many as 36 shots at the goal out of which 10 were on target. New Zealand, meanwhile, had just four shots out of which two were on target. – PTI