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South Africa beat Botswana in 2018 Women’s U17 WC qualifier


by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Dec 02, 2017. 11:00


The South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) defeated Botswana 5-1 in the first leg first round of the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifier played at the Lobatse Sports Complex on Friday, 1 December 2017.

With this being a new squad, South Africa head coach Simphiwe Dludlu gave debuts to 11 players, and they did not disappoint.

Goals from Karabo Dlamini, Thambolinye Mzoneli, Miche Minnies, Jessica Wade as well as an own goal from Tshegofatso Mosotho were enough to see South Africa take a healthy lead going into the second leg which will be played in two weeks time.

Bantwana started on a high grabbing the first goal in the first minute of play through Dlamini, before Mzoneli made it 2-0 in the 15th minute.

But a minute later the hosts pulled one back when Leungo Senwelo latched on to a defence splitting pass and pushed the ball past an advancing Kaydee Windvogel in the Bantwana goals.

Four minutes before the half time whistle, South Africa extended their lead through and own goal by Tshegofatso Mosotho – leaving the score at 3-1.

In the second stanza, Bantwana continued where they left off in the first half and increased their lead to 4-1 from a Miche Minnies goal in the 56th minute.

Five minutes later South Africa was awarded a free kick and Jessica Wade took it brilliantly to beat Atang Sedimonyane in the Botswana goals.

In the 73rd minute Bantwana captain Kaylin Jordaan was adjudged to have fouled her opponent and Botswana were awarded a penalty.

Esalenna Galekhutle stepped up to take it but Windvogel pulled off a beautiful save to keep the scored at 5-1 to Bantwana.

South Africa head coach Simphiwe Dludlu made two substitutions bringing Holweni for Mzoneli and Micaela Nunens for Wade.

Bantwana travel back to South Africa on Saturday, 2 December. The second leg will be played on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at the Dobsonville Stadium.



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England succeed Nigeria as U-17 World Cup winners – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


England’s Rhian Brewster (L) celebrates after scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Brazil and England at Salt Lake stadium in Calcutta, eastern India, 25 October 2017. England won 3-1. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 28, 2017. 18:33


England have succeeded Nigeria as U-17 World Cup champions after they defeated Spain 5-2 in the tournament final in Kolkata on Saturday.

The English came from two goals down to claim victory, securing both their first world title at this age group level, and revenge over the Spanish for a loss in the final of the U-17 European Championships earlier this year.

Spain enjoyed a strong start to the game and had a two-goal lead within 31 minutes, as Sergio Gomez twice struck from assists by the excellent Cesar Gelabert.

However, England brought themselves back into the contest just before half time, with Steven Sessegnon crossing from the right to find Rhian Brewster, who headed home to make it 2-1 at the break and bring up his eighth goal of the tournament.

The English looked dangerous down the flanks in the second half and on 58 minutes they levelled the game at 2-2 when Sessegnon provided another assist for Morgan Gibbs-White to tuck the ball away.

On 69 minutes England claimed the lead for the first time, with a powerful run down the left flank from Callum Hudson-Odoi allowing one of the players of the tournament, Phil Foden, to put his side 3-2 up.

And the Spanish challenge was killed off in the 84th minute when a set piece saw defender Marc Guehi to score his first goal for the national team and bring the score to 4-2.

Four minutes later the young Three Lions put the cherry on top when Hudson-Odoi played a great pass over the defence to see Foden fire home the fifth on a swift counter attack.

The third-place playoff earlier in the day saw Africans champions Mali beaten 2-0 by Brazil at the same venue.

England (1) 5 (Brewster 44’, Gibbs-White 58’, Foden 69’ 88’, Guehi 84’)

Spain (2) 2 (Gomez 10’ 31’)

England: Anderson, Sessegnon, Latibeaudiere, Guehi, Panzo, McEachran (Gallagher 87’), Oakley-Boothe (Gomes 90’), Foden, Gibbs-White (Kirby 81’), Hudson-Odoi, Brewster

Spain: Fernandez, Morey Bauza, Chust, Guillamon, Miranda, Moha (Diaz 85’), Blanco (Beitia 81’), Torres, Gelaber (Alonso 72’), Gomez, Ruiz



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Mali miss out on third place at U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Lassana N’Diaye (L) of Mali is in action against Victor Chust (2-L) of Spain during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Mali and Spain at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai, India, 25 October 2017. EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 28, 2017. 15:36


Mali have finished fourth at the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India after going down 2-0 at the hands of Brazil in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

The match at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata was a frustrating one for the Young Eagles, who were unable to impose their physicality against their South Americans.

Yet Mali still created the majority of scoring chances, but the likes of Lassana N’Diaye, Hadji Drame and Djemoussa Traore were repeatedly denied by an excellent showing from Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao.

The South Americans upped their game in the second half and claimed the ascendancy in the 55th minute, with attacking midfielder Alan Guimaraes getting the better of Youssouf Koita.

Jonas Komla’s side tried to fight back into the contest, but their ambitions were killed off late on when substitute Yuri Alberto added the second goal to complete the score line at 2-0 in favour of Brazil.

The final later this afternoon at the same venue will see England and Spain battle for the right to be called U-17 World Cup champions.

Brazil (0) 2 (Guimaraes 55’, Yuri Alberto 88’)

Mali 0

Brazil: Brazao, Wesley, Vitao, Halter, Weverson, Pereira (Guth 52’), Brenner, Silva Santos, Guimaraes (Nestor 62’), Paulinho, Dos Santos (Yuri Alberto 74’)

Mali: Koita, Konate, Fofana, Haidara, Kane, Drame (Toure 76’), Samake (Doucoure 72’), M. Camara, Giddou (S. Camara 81’), D. Traore, N’Diaye



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Mali out to claim third place at U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 18:30


Mali will look to claim the bronze medals at the U-17 World Cup when they face Brazil in the third-place playoff match, set for the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The Young Eagles suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Spain in their semifinal in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. While the Europeans were deserved winners, Mali could still feel aggrieved at missing out on a legitimate goal from Cheick Doucoure.

The midfielder’s long-range strike would have stood had goal line technology been deployed at the tournament, and it could have turned the game in the Africans’ favour.

Coach Jonas Komla, to his credit, did not use the incident as an excuse for his team’s defeat, acknowledging that Spain were worthy winners. He has turned his attention to helping his team at least claim the honour of third place.

“I can’t comment on the referee’s decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” explained Komla.

“In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that’s football for you.

“We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can’t be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

“It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu was similarly gracious in defeat after watching team suffer a 3-1 loss to England in the other semifinal on Wednesday. Rhian Brewster’s hat-trick put paid to his team’s hopes of winning a third U-17 World Cup title.

“They were effective. They created opportunities and scored. England deserved to win. We played well in the first half but couldn’t score,” said Amadeu.

He added, “I am sad because we would have liked to win. But this happens. We must look into the future. We have one more match to play.

“As a leader, I can’t allow the team to be sad. They must gear up and play next game. Our dream was to play final. But this happens.”

The Mali v Brazil match will be the ‘curtain-raiser’ for the final between England and Spain at the same venue later on Saturday.



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England, Spain battle for U-17 crown – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


England’s Rhian Brewster (L) celebrates after scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Brazil and England at Salt Lake stadium in Calcutta, eastern India, 25 October 2017. England won 3-1. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 18:30


England and Spain will battle for the right to be called U-17 World Cup winners when they meet in the final at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday, kick-off at 16h30 CAT.

England’s path to the final has seen them top Group F ahead of Iraq, Mexico and Chile, before defeating Japan on penalties, United States 4-1 and Brazil 3-1 in the last 16, quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.

Steve Cooper’s Young Three Lions have been one of the best balanced teams at the tournament, scoring a total of 18 goals while conceding just four at the other end. In striker Rhian Brewster – who has netted successive hat-tricks in the last two rounds – they have the tournament’s leading scorer with seven strikes thus far.

“The players will be planned and prepared for it [the final],” said coach Cooper. “We’re really enjoying being out here and we have a great opportunity to make history, but we know the experience will serve us for the future as well.”

Spain, meanwhile, ousted one of the tournament favourites Mali in the semifinals, putting in a controlled performance to quell the Africans’ superior physicality and claim a 3-1 triumph.

La Rojita have lost just once in this tournament: a group stage defeat at the hands of Brazil – the same team England overcame in the semis.

Spain and England will be renewing their rivalry just over five months after they met in the final of the U-17 European Championships in Croatia. That match finished 2-2 before Spain won 4-1 on penalties.

“We do have to prepare. We know we have beaten them in the final of the Euro in Croatia,” said Spain coach Santiago Denia after the semifinal against Mali. “England has improved and we need to improve on things we did today.”

Both teams will be looking for their first-ever U-17 World Cup title. While this will be England’s first appearance in the championship match, Spain have appeared in three previous finals – 1991, 2003 and 2007 – all of which they lost.



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Mali U-17 coach gracious in defeat – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Coach of Mali u17, Jonas Komla

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 13:30


Mali coach Jonas Komla was gracious in defeat after watching his side beaten 3-1 by Spain in the U-17 World Cup semifinals on Wednesday.

The Young Eagles were outplayed by their Spanish counterparts in Navi Mumbai, though there was a controversial moment when their midfielder Cheick Doucoure had a legitimate goal missed by the match officials.

Doucoure’s long-range shot hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounded over the goal line – as confirmed by TV replays – and bounced back into play.

The match officials allowed play to continue and the absence of goal line technology cost the Africans a goal which could have changed the course of the match: Spain were 2-0 up at the time and soon went on to score a third goal to end the game as a contest.

However, Komla downplayed the incident and instead focused on the positives, praising his team for reaching the final four of a global tournament.

“I can’t comment on the referee’s decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” said Komla.

“In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that’s football for you.

“We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can’t be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

“It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Mali will face Brazil (who were beaten 3-1 by England in their semifinal) at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday for the third-place playoff.



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Mali outclassed by Spain in U-17 World Cup semifinals – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Lassana N’Diaye (L) of Mali is in action against Victor Chust (2-L) of Spain during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Mali and Spain at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai, India, 25 October 2017. EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

by
Helder Ribiero

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:26


Mali were beaten 3-1 by Spain in their 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.

The Young Eagles were outclassed by their Spanish counterparts, who were more clinical in attack and racked up three goals through a first-half brace from the excellent Abel Ruiz and a second-half header from Ferran Torres. Mali’s Lassana N’Diaye at least scored his sixth goal of the tournament to give his side some consolation.

Spain started strongly and nearly claimed the lead inside the first two minutes, with Sergio Gomez denied by a fine save from Youssouf Koita, before they had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down.

Yet the Europeans had to wait only until the 19th minute to open the scoring – and from a spot kick at that. Abdoulaye Diaby was guilty of a clumsy foul on Cesar Gelabert, and Abel Ruiz stroked home the penalty to make it 1-0.

Mali looked to be working their way back into the game as the first half entered its closing stage, but on 43 minutes the Africans gave the ball away in midfield and Gelabert played a superb pass to put Abel Ruiz in for his second goal of the game.

At 2-0 up, Spain entered the second half full of confidence and created a handful of chances to kill the game off, with Abel Ruiz guilty of missing a couple of glaring chances to complete his hat-trick.

There was controversy just past the hour mark when Cheick Doucoure struck a superb long-range shot which hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounded over the goal line and bounced back out into play.

Television replays confirmed that the ball crossed the line and Mali should have been on the score board, but the lack of goal line technology meant they were cruelly denied a way back into the game.

With just under 20 minutes to play, the Europeans found their third goal and ended the game as a contest. Sergio Gomez floated in a cross from the left by-line and Ferran Torres scored with a downward header for 3-0.

Mali gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Lassana N’Diaye took advantage of a slip at the back from Hugo Guillamon to score yet another goal at the World Cup and reduce the deficit to 3-1 in the 74th minute.

Yet there were no further goals for the West Africans, who were beaten 3-1 and have to settle for a spot in the third-place playoff against Brazil on Saturday. Spain will face England in an all-European final in Kolkata later the same day.

Mali (0) 1 (N’Diaye 74’)
Spain (2) 3 (Abel Ruiz 19’ pen 43’, Ferran Torres 71’)

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore (Mamadou Traore 69’), Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby (Mamadi Fofana 50’), Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana N’Diaye, Cheick Doucoure (Seme Camara 84’)

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres (Victor Perea 79’), Mohamed Moukhliss (Diego Pampin 90’), Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert (Carlos Beitia 68’)



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U-17 World Cup: Mali 1-3 Spain – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:18


Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Commentary:
All times CAT

90+6′ – Full time – Spain advance to the U-17 World Cup final. Mali will rightly complain that they were denied a legitimate goal, but the boys in red and blue were the better team in this match and deserve the victory.

90+5′ – Yellow card – Spain’s Jaume is booked for a cynical foul near the edge of his own box.

90+3′ – Drame drags a shot just wide, as Mali throw everyone forward in search of another goal.

90+1′ – There will be five minutes of added time.

90′ – Substitution – Moukhliss makes way for Diego Pampin in Spain’s last change.

87′ – Yellow card – Camara cautioned just a few minutes after coming off the bench.

85′ – Yellow card – Haidara cautioned for a hand in the face of Moukhliss.

84′ – Substitution – Seme Camara replaces Doucoure in Mali’s last change.

83′ – Another Mali chance as a deflected cross makes it awkward for Drame to get a shot away and Fernandez gratefully smothers the low effort.

82′ – A promising Mali attack ends with a tame ball into Fernandez’s hands. The Young Eagles must make the most of every chance to put Spain under pressure…

79′ – Substitution – Ferran makes way for Victor Perea in Spain’s second change.

77′ – Mamadou Traore with a shot… just off target, that had Fernandez worried! Mali’s belief is growing…

74′ – GOAL! Mali 1-3 Spain – Or is it done and dusted? Guillamon slips up in defence and N’Diaye continues his scoring form with a fine finish to beat Fernandez at his near post!

72′ – That is surely game, set and match in favour of Spain. They will go on to face England in Saturday’s semifinal in Kolkata.

71′ – GOAL! Mali 0-3 Spain – Gomez chips in a cross from the left and Ferran gets up to score Spain’s third goal with a downward header!

69′ – Substitution – Mamadou Traore replaces Djemoussa Traore in the second swap for the Africans. Fernandez makes a sharp save at his near post from N’Diaye.

68′ – Substitution – Carlos Beitia replaces Gelabert in Spain’s first change.

65′ – The Mali bench is remonstrating with the referee… they’ve seen the TV replays on the big screen and know it should have been a goal.

63′ – If there was goal-line technology at this tournament, Mali would have been credited with a goal just then! So unlucky for the West Africans!

62′ – Doucoure smashes a great long-range effort which hits the underside of the crossbar, bounces over the goal line and back into play, before N’Diaye heads wide from the rebound!

60′ – Abel Ruiz with another chance to complete his hat-trick but he curls his shot over the target!

59′ – It looks much more likely that Spain will find a third rather than Mali reducing the deficit…

58′ – Gomez with a cut-back to find Ferran on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot drifts just wide!

57′ – Yellow card – Doucoure into the book for a late challenge on Blanco.

54′ – Panic in the Mali box after Miranda puts in a floated cross from the left, but eventually the Young Eagles get it clear.

52′ – Mali shifting their formation a little after that substitution, hoping to work a way back into this game.

50′ – Substitution – Diaby makes way for Mamadi Fofana in Mali’s first change.

48′ – Abel Ruiz runs in behind the defence and this must be a hat-trick… no, saved by Koita! That was a weak effort from the Spanish striker.

47′ – Drame with a shot/cross which runs just too strongly for Traore at the back post.

46′ – Back underway in the second half, no changes from either team at the break.

45+3′ – Half time – There’s not much between the teams in terms of balance of play, but Spain have been more incisive and ruthless in attack and therefore deserve their two-goal lead.

45+2′ – Yellow card – Jiddou goes into the book for a rough aerial challenge.

45+1′ – There will be two minutes of added time.

43′ – GOAL! Mali 0-2 Spain – Spain with a sucker-punch as Gelabert plays a great pass to put Abel Ruiz in on goal and he finishes superbly to make it 2-0!

42′ – Doucoure with a downward header from a corner kick, but the ball drifts wide of the far post!

41′ – Mali on a dangerous counter which ends with Traore heading over the crossbar from Drame’s cross!

40′ – Abel Ruiz almost directs a cheeky flick into the back of the net but he’s denied by a combination of Koita and Diaby!

38′ – Doucoure with an awkward shot on target which Fernandez bats away for a corner kick!

36′ – Kane connects well with a long-range effort, but it’s always drifting wide of the Spanish goal.

34′ – Mali finding it tough to create chances like they did in the opening quarter hour. Spain are keeping it tight at the back.

32′ – Almost 2-0 to Spain as Abel Ruiz gets a touch on Miranda’s left-flank cross, but the ball flashes just wide!

29′ – Gomez cracks a low shot just wide of Koita’s left-hand post, but he was offside anyway.

28′ – Spain controlling possession now with their passing. The Europeans can afford to sit back and let Mali try and force the issue.

25′ – Mali with a free kick just outside the box. Jiddou strikes for goal, but can’t lift his effort up and over the wall.

23′ – Mali with a free kick in a good attacking position, but Kane’s curling cross from the dead ball is well defended by Spain.

22′ – Midway through the first half, Mali will need to work hard to get back in the game from this point.

19′ – GOAL! Mali 0-1 Spain – Abel Ruiz tucks away the penalty and Spain lead the semifinal!

18′ – Penalty! Diaby trips up Gelabert and it’s a spot kick to Spain! No doubt about it this time, the referee had no choice but to penalise a clumsy foul in the box.

17′ – Jiddou with a long-range effort, but it’s over the crossbar and no worry for Fernandez.

15′ – Kane with great footwork to set up Traore with a shooting chance, but his effort after a quick turn is just over the angle over crossbar and post!

14′ – If anything it’s Mali who are looking more comfortable now, knocking the ball around with confidence.

12′ – A fine start to this match, both teams more than happy to commit men forward in attack!

9′ – N’Diaye almost takes advantage of confusion in the Spanish defence, poking the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper Alvaro only to see it run just wide of the near post!

8′ – Great footwork from Gelabert on the edge of the box, he makes space for a shot but pulls the ball wide of Koita’s left-hand post!

6′ – Drame with a shot with the outside of his foot which deflects off a defender and flashes just wide!

5′ – Spain’s Gelabert tumbles in the box under a challenge from Diaby and Mali are somewhat lucky not to concede a penalty  kick!

3′ – The subsequent corner kick brings another heart-in-mouth moment for Mali. Spain have started strongly, they look full of confidence.

2′ – Mali goalkeeper Koita with a great save to keep out a volley from Sergio Gomez! Spain very nearly claim an early lead…

1′ – Kick-off – We are underway in Navi Mumbai! Mali wear all yellow, while Spain are in red and dark blue.

16h20 – Our referee for this match is Japanese official Ryuji Sato.

16h10 – We can inform you that the winners of this match will face England in the final in Kolkata on Saturday. The English defeated Brazil 3-1 in the first semifinal earlier today, with Rhian Brewster scoring a hat-trick.

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana N’Diaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert

 



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U-17 World Cup: Mali v Spain – LIVE – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 15:43


Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Live Commentary (press F5 to refresh):
All times CAT

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana Ndiaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert

 



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Ghana U-17 goalkeeper apologies for error in quarterfinal loss – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Danlad Ibrahim and Faisal Osman of Ghana during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017. 11:00


Ghana U-17 goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim has apologised for his error which cost the team a goal in their World Cup quarterfinal loss to Mali this past weekend.

Ibrahim was directly responsible for Djemoussa Traore’s goal, which proved to be the decisive strike in Mali’s 2-1 win.

The goalkeeper attempted to sprint off his line to make a clearance, but his misjudgment only made it easier for Traore to find the back of the net.

“Sometimes when playing in the rains, the gloves get so wet and slippery,” Ibrahim told the GNA.

“I made my mind to push the ball out because I didn’t want to take the chance of trying to grab it. There was not so much power behind the ball and I didn’t get the movement of the ball well.

“It pains me a lot that the team couldn’t go beyond this stage. We had plans of taking the name of Ghana high in this competition but it didn’t work ou



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Drame: No matter the conditions, Mali U17 go out to win – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 23, 2017. 10:00


Malian Under-17 international Hadji Drame is happy to have fired the Junior Eagles into the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup semi-finals.

There was much disquiet behind the scenes prior to kick-off at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday, as 48 hours of incessant rain threatened to cast doubt on the quarter-final match between Mali and Ghana.

This sense of uncertainty did not affect the players in the Malian dressing room, however. Mali beat their Ghana counterparts 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, India on Saturday.

“The weather is not something we worry about,” Drame told FIFA.com.

The 17-year-old striker opened the scoring for Mali in the 15th minute, before Djemoussa Traore made it 2-0 in the 61st minute. Mohammed Kudus netted for Ghana in the 70th minute.

“No matter the conditions, we go out onto the pitch with the intention of winning. We played well and used the ball intelligently,” he continued.

“Ghana played a lot of high balls, so we tried our best to get the ball back down on the deck. We kept our heads, and that made the difference in the end.”

Mali, who finished second in the 2015 U17 World Cup finals, will face Spain in the semi-final clash at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, India on Wednesday



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Mali beat Ghana to reach U17 FIFA World Cup semifinals – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Helder Ribiero

Saturday Oct 21, 2017. 15:44


Mali scored through Hadji Drame and Djemmoussa Traore to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the 2017 U17 FIFA World Cup on Saturday after beating Ghana 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in India.

The Black Starlets found the back of the net courtesy of Kudus Mohamed through a penalty.

The 12th minute saw the Malian defence failing to clear a dangerous ball in the box and the rebound fell to Eric Ayiah whose shot narrowly missed the target.

Three minutes later, the Les Aigles managed to break the deadlock through Drame. A through ball for the forward penetrated the Ghanaian defence before unleashing a powerful shot on the near post, 1-0.

The 30th minute saw coach Paa Kwesi Appiah’s troops trying to break the stubborn Malian defence, but they were not clinical upfront.

With five minutes to the half, Ghana thought they have found the back of the net when Ibrahim Sulley beat goalkeeper Youssouf Koita on his near post, but the referee called for a foul on a Malian defender.

It was 1-0 at the interval in favour of Jonas Komla’s men.

Fresh from the tunnel, Ghana upped their ante as they probed for an equaliser, but they failed to trouble the solid Malian defence.

The Les Aigles doubled their lead through Djemmoussa Traore after a silly error by the keeper. Danlad Ibrahim making it 2-0 on the hour mark.

The Black Starlets received a penalty after a foul in the box by defender, Fode Konate allowing Mohamed to convert from the spot in the 70th minute, 2-1.

It was end to end stuff in the final 15 minutes, but both sides struggled in the rainy conditions and fired blanks in the final third.

The dying stages of the encounter produced no clear cut opportunities in front of goal as Mali cruised into the semis whilst Ghana crashed out of the tournament.

Ghana: (0) 1 (Konate 70′)
Mali: (1) 2 (Drame 15′, Traore 61′)

Mali: Koita, Haidara, Traore, Konate, Camara, Drame (Camara 80′), Jiddou (Doucoure 75′), Diaby, Samake, Kane, Ndiaye

Ghana: Ibrahim, Yakubu, Ayiah, Sulley (Sadiq 55′), Mohamed, Tokou (E. Mohamed 74′), Yusuf, Leveh (Danso 62′), Mensah, Alhasan, Idriss



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FIFA U17 World Cup: Mali 2-1 Ghana – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Oct 21, 2017. 15:24


Welcome to AfricanFootball.com’s LIVE ASW of the 2017 U17 FIFA World Cup quarter-final clash between Mali and Ghana.

The encounter will be staged at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati (India) on Saturday, October 21 2017.

The Black Starlets are out to claim a win and book a spot at the semi-finals as they target to lift the trophy for the third time.

Meanwhile, the Les Aigles are looking to rectify their errors after finishing as runners-up in 2015 in Chile.

Both coaches, Paa Kwesi Fabin and Jonas Kokou Komla will motivate their troops to ensure they are through to the next stage of the prestigious tournament.

LINEUPS:

MALI: Youssouf KOITA (GK), Boubacar HAIDARA, Djemoussa TRAORE, Fode KONATE, Mohamed CAMARA (C), Hadji DRAME, Salam JIDDOU, Abdoulaye DIABY, Mamadou SAMAKE, Ibrahim KANE, Lassana NDIAYE.

GHANA: Danlad IBRAHIM (GK), Najeeb YAKUBU, Eric AYIAH (C), Ibrahim SULLEY, Kudus MOHAMMED, Emmanuel TOKU, Abdul YUSIF, Gabriel LEVEH, Gideon MENSAH, Rashid ALHASSAN, Mohammed IDDRISS.

COMMENTARY:

Mali are through to the semi-finals of the U17 FIFA World Cup. Ghana are out of the global youth tournament.

90+4′ It is full time in India.

90+4′ Mali sub: Sidibe on for Djemoussa Traore

90+4′ The referee has added four minutes.

90′ Mali’s Mane tries a long range effort and it goes wide not troubling the keeper. We are into the stoppage time.

80′ Mali sub: Camara on for Drame

80′ We enter the final 10 minutes of the encounter as both African sides are battling for a spot in the semi-finals. Ghana 1-2 Mali

75′ Mali sub: Doucoure on for Jiddou



74′ Ghana sub: Aminu Mohamed on for Emmanuel Tokou

73′ Mohamed Camara booked

70′ PENALTY: Ghana receive a penalty after a foul in the box by Fode Konate. Kudus Mohamed converted from the spot. Ghana 1-2 Mali

62′ Ghana sub: Danso on for Leveh

63′ GOAL – Mali have doubled the lead through Djemmoussa Traore after a silly error by the keeper. Mali 2-0 Ghana

59′ The Black Starlets pushing harder but harder yet they fail to hit the target.

55′ Ghana sub: Sulley off for Ibrahim Sadiq

52′ Fouls dominate the encounter in the heart of the park, Fabin’s men still probing for an equaliser.

48′ The Black Starlets are back with more intent, they take a shot through Ayiah and Koita makes a brilliant save to concede a corner.

46′ Second half resumes at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati (India).

45′ Half time in India: Mali 1-0 Ghana

44′ Ghana thought they have found the back of the net when Sulley beat Koita on his near post, but the referee called for a foul on a Malian defence.

40′ Five minutes remaining in the quarter-final encounter as both African nations are chasing a spot in the Last Four. However, Jonas Komla’s men are leading 1-0

36′ Ghana’s Yakubu booked for a two-footed foul.

35′ battle lines are drawn in the heart of the park and fouls are commited in the muddy surface.

30′ Paa Kwesi Fabin’s charges still trying to break up the Malian defence in search of an equaliser.

27′ Ghana must fix their defence, Mali running through them on the right flank. But their final shot goes wide. Mali 1-0 Ghana

22′ Ghana commit a foul, a set piece for Mali right on the edge of the area. Salam hit is wide.

18′ Ghana tried to respond from a set piece and it hits the roof of the net for a goal kick.

A through ball for the forward penetrated the Ghanaian defence before unleashing a powerful shot on the near post. Ghana 0-1 Mali

14′ GOAL – Mali break the deadlock through Hadji Drame

10′ There are no goals in the encounter in the opening 10 minutes.

08′ Mali penetrate the Black Starlets’ defence and they take a shot through Kane but it goes wide.

05′ Both camps exchanging the ball possession, Mohamed Idriss takes a shot but it sails wide off target.

02′ It was bucketing in India at the venue, the pitch is waterlogged. But the game goes on.

01′ Match gets underway



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Mali, Ghana renew rivalry in U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Colombia’s Brayan Gomez (L) in action against Ghana’s Emmanuel Toku (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 18:00


Mali and Ghana will renew their rivalry at the U-17 level when they meet in a World Cup quarterfinal at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

Mali earned their place in the last eight by finishing runners-up to Paraguay in Group B, before thrashing Iraq 5-1 in their last 16 clash on Tuesday, while Ghana topped Group A and then ousted fellow Africans Niger 2-0 on Wednesday.

These teams are familiar foes and it is fitting that they are the continent’s last representatives, having met in the final of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon back in May.

In that match in Libreville it was Mali who claimed a narrow 1-0 victory – thanks to a first-half goal from Mamadou Samake – to be crowned African champions at the Black Starlets’ expense.

Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin was not happy with the way his side wasted chances against Niger, but is still confident of their chances against the Young Eagles.

“Definitely it is a concern and we are working on it,” Fabin told reporters in regards to his team’s finishing.

“It’s a work in progress and definitely when it’s an U-17 team, you know that definitely they will keep making such mistakes and I will keep correcting them until we get what we want.

“I’m satisfied with the two goals we scored and in fact it has taken us to the next stage.”

Fabin also believes his Ghana can go all the way in the tournament: “Definitely we are here and I believe every team that has qualified hold the mentality to win the trophy, so we are thinking alike.”

Mali coach Komla, meanwhile, has fended off allegations that his side are fielding overage players. Iraq coach Qahran Al-Rubaye claimed the Africans looked like “an U-23 team” in the last 16 match.

“In football, it is important to accept the results. In a tournament of this stature, there are clear rules and testing for every player is performed before the World Cup. We have passed all the required tests and guidelines, so you have to accept it,” explained Komla.

The winner of the Mali-Ghana match will play either Spain or Iran in the semifinals on Wednesday 25 October in Navi Mumbai.



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Timothy Weah says his father is not overshadowing him – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Tim Weah (L) of the USA celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and the USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 16 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Scent ition

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 16:00



George Weah’s son, Timothy Weah says he is not living in his father’s shadow and feels no pressure to be as good as the Liberian football legend.

Born in New York 17 years ago, Timothy revealed what kind of advice he received from his father just before starring for the United States at the ongoing U17 FIFA World Cup in India.

Although his father failed to play at the World Cup, Timothy says he is not overawed by the prospect of following in his famous father’s footsteps and that he can only profit from the situation.

ABSA PREMIERSHIP MIDWEEK PREVIEW, 17-18 OCTOBER

The Paris St Germain player has helped the US to the quarter-finals of the youth tournament following a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Paraguay in the Last 16 on Monday.

“I just use it as an advantage,” he told BBC Sport.

“My dad was a great player and it’s up to me to be the best that I can be – even if I don’t make it to that extent.

“I’m still going to try to be one of the best players to play the game. Following in my father’s footsteps is not a big deal to me.

“I talk to him nearly every night (in India) and he gives a little word of encouragement.

“He told me to just play my game and be myself – that is the most important thing,” explained Timothy.

“He just said: ‘Be free, you have nothing to prove, just prove that you are the best player and you will have a bright future.”

During a prolific career in Europe with AS Monaco, AC Milan and PSG, George Weah became the only African to ever be crowned FIFA World Footballer of the Year in 1995.



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Iraq coach: Mali looked like an U-23 team – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 14:00


Iraq coach Qahtan Al-Rubaye has stopped just short of accusing Mali of age cheating at the ongoing U-17 World Cup in India.

The Asian U-17 champions were given a 5-1 thrashing by their African counterparts Mali when the teams in a last 16 clash in Margao on Tuesday.

The Young Eagles enjoyed a speed and size advantage over the Iraqis, with Hadji Drame, Lassana N’Diaye, Fode Konate and Seme Camara sharing the five goals between them.

“They sometimes look like they are an U-23 team and not in the same category as us (U-17),” said Al-Rubaye in the aftermath of the match.

“It’s quite visible in the way they play, the way they shoot and their abilities, like speed and physicality.

“It’s unfair sometimes because there is a big difference between African teams and others.”

African sides have been guilty of age cheating in junior tournaments in the past. The U-17 World Cup winners in 2015, Nigeria last year had half their squad at the age group ruled ineligible for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening.

Yet Mali coach Jonas Komla shrugged off any insinuations that his side may be fielding overage players.

”In football, it is important to accept the results. In a tournament of this stature, there are clear rules and testing for every player is performed before the World Cup. We have passed all the required tests and guidelines, so you have to accept it,” said Komla.



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U-17 World Cup: Ghana 2-0 Niger – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 15:23


Welcome to coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup last 16 match between Ghana and Niger from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Commentary:
All times CAT

90+6′ – Full time – Done and dusted, Ghana are deserved winners and will face fellow Africans Mali in the quarterfinals on Saturday! A brave effort from Niger, who can take pride from having made it to the second round in their tournament debut.

90+2′ – Yellow card – Niger’s Soumana booked for a rash challenge in midfield.

90+1′ – Substitution – Niger’s second change sees Wa Massamba make way for Hamid Galissoune.

90′ – GOAL! Ghana 2-0 Niger – Danso with a superb long-range strike to make it 2-0 and that has surely killed off Niger!

86′ – Penalty saved! Ayiah takes the spot kick and looks for the same part of the net he scored in from the first half, but Lawali makes a fine save this time!

85′ – Substitution – Richard Danso replaces Toku in Ghana’s final change.

84′ – Penalty! Another spot kick to Ghana, with Idrissa tripping Toku in the box. A clear foul, no doubt about it, and this is Ghana’s chance to kill off Niger.

81′ – Lawali and Yakubu collide at a Ghana corner kick. It’s adjudged a foul from the Black Starlets player and both are down receiving treatment.

78′ – Substitution – Mohammed Iddriss replaces Gyamfi in Ghana’s second change.

77′ – Substitution – Karim Tinni replaces Sofiane in Niger’s first change.

76′ – Niger ‘keeper Lawali is now down and calling for treatment. We’ve had several injury breaks in this second half…

73′ – Mensah crosses from the right, Arko-Mensah gets up to meet the ball but sends his header well off target.

70′ – Twenty minutes of regulation time to play. Ghana’s one-goal lead is a perilous one, though Niger have yet to really threaten in the final third.

66′ – Mensah with the miss of the tournament, somehow putting the ball over the bar from just a metre or so out! It was easier to score than put it over!

65′ – Toku with a great dummy to open space for a curling shot which is well saved by Lawali! The best moment of the second half so far.

64′ – Substitution – Ghana’s first change sees the injured Owusu make way for John Otu.

62′ – Owusu has gone down for Ghana and he’s calling for a substitution.

61′ – Past the hour mark in Navi Mumbai, Ghana hold the advantage thanks to Eric Ayiah’s penalty late in the first half.

58′ – Ghana’s Toku receiving some treatment after suffering a kick to the right shin. He’ll be stretchered off and that could well be the end of his game…

56′ – Ghana with a sustained spell of pressure, but as Ayiah tries to get a shot away on the edge of the box he is crowded out by several orange-clad defenders.

52′ – Niger blow a great attacking opportunity with an over-hit pass. The Young Menas have wasted several such chances through the match.

48′ – Yellow card – Ghana’s Mensah is booked for a rough aerial challenge.

46′ – Back underway in the second half, no changes from either team at the break.

45+5′ – Half time – Ghana lead at the break thanks to that late, late penalty. Given the Black Starlets’ dominance, you’d say they are good value for their one-goal advantage.

45+4′ – GOAL! Ghana 1-0 Niger – Ayiah dusts himself off and coolly finishes from the penalty to put Ghana ahead!

45+3′ – Penalty! – Idrissa with a clear foul on Ayiah and Ghana have a spot kick late in the half!

45+1′ – Arko-Mensah with a chance to play in a dangerous cross from a free kick out wide, but the midfielder puts his delivery straight for a goal kick.

45′ – There will be four minutes of added time.

43′ – Namata makes a superb tackle on Arko-Mensah in the penalty area… he had to time that perfectly to prevent giving away a spot kick.

40′ – Lawali has to make a save from Yakubu’s awkward cross from the right flank which threatened to drift into the goal.

39′ – Toku with a fiercely-hit shot which is blocked by a defender, before Ayiah sends an effort high and wide from the rebound.

37′ – Snappy passing from Ghana to open up space for Sulley to shoot, his effort was scuffed at goal and comfortably saved by Lawali.

34′ – Ayiah with a sight of goal, but he snatches at it too quickly and slices the ball wide of the mark.

33′ – Niger’s Sofiane steps on the ankle of Toku and is perhaps a little fortunate not to be booked for that challenge.

30′ – Idrissa with a desperate clearance from Ayiah’s dangerous ball into the box. It seems only a matter of time until Ghana find a way through…

27′ – Ghana corner kick and goalkeeper Lawali makes an excellent punch under pressure. Ghana’s Owusu is penalised for an aerial foul on the gloves-man.

25′ – Fine play by Ghana, Arko-Mensah has a shot from the edge of the box and Lawali makes a super save to keep it at 0-0! The closest we’ve come to a goal in this match.

23′ – Midway through the first half, goalless in Navi Mumbai. Ghana have looked the better team thus far, but Niger are giving a good account of themselves.

19′ – Ayiah looks to sneak in behind to meet a long ball, but he’s penalised for a push on Niger defender Idrissa.

17′ – Great goalkeeping from Ghana’s Danlad as he comes off his line to emphatically punch clear a dangerous cross from Wa Massamba. Took a knock for his troubles, but he’ll be fine after a bit of treatment.

16′ – Past the quarter hour mark, still goalless between Ghana and Niger. No genuine chances at either end so far.

13′ – Niger’s Ibrahim looks set to break free on the counter attack, but Mensah comes across to make a strong sliding tackle.

10′ – Lovely footwork from Ghana’s Arko-Mensah down the left flank. The Black Starlets look much the more settled and confident side thus far.

8′ – Niger with a couple of corner kicks, but they don’t threaten Ghana from either of them. The Young Menas will need to make the most of their set pieces.

7′ – Gyamfi is back on his feet after some ‘magic spray’, looks like he’ll be okay.

6′ – Ghana’s Gyamfi looks to have picked up a knee and/or ankle injury in challenge with Sofiane.

4′ – Another corner for Ghana, this time Sulley gets a head on it but his effort is mis-timed and sent well wide of the target.

2′ – Early half chance for Ghana’s Sulley as he gets in behind the defence, but goalkeeper Lawali comes quickly off his line and ensures it’s only a corner kick.

1′ – Kick-off – We are underway in Navi Mumbai! Ghana wear all-white, while Niger are in all-orange.

13h20 – A reminder that the winner of this match will meet Mali (who thrashed Iraq 5-1 yesterday) in an all-African quarterfinal on Saturday.

13h10 – Today’s clash will be handled by Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias.

13h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting line-ups:

Ghana: Ibrahim Danlad, Edmund Arko-Mensah, Najeeb Yakubu, Eric Ayiah, Ibrahim Sulley, Emmanuel Toko, Gabriel Leveh, Bismark Owusu, Gideon Mensah, Rashid Alhassan, Isaac Gyamfi

Niger: Khaled Lawali, Yacine Wa Massamba, Nasser Mahaman, Farouk Idrissa, Inoussa Amadou, Habibou Sofiane, Kader Aboubacar, Rachid Soumana, Ibrahim Boubacar, Ibrahim Namata, Salim Abdourahmane



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Ghana U-17 coach: I believe we will beat Niger – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 14:30


Ghana U-17 coach Paa Kwesi Fabin has expressed confidence that his side will defeat Niger in their World Cup last 16 clash later today.

The Black Starlets will face the Young Menas at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

Ghana were one of the more impressive teams in the pool stage, notably topping Group A head of Colombia and United States, while Niger only squeaked through as one of the best third-placed teams after finishing behind Brazil and Spain.

The teams have already met once this year, with the Black Starlets winning on penalties when the teams clashed in the semifinals of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations back in May.

“Niger are a very determined side and looking at the matches they played in the group stage, it was an improved game as compared to their performance in the AFCON U-17 in Gabon,” said Fabin, as quoted by GhanaWeb.

“It won’t be an easy game on Wednesday at all for both sides, but we have prepared well to advance to the next stage.

“We are ready for the battle, we have prepared the boys psychologically and moreover this is a knock out stage so we are approaching the game with a winning mentality.

“In an association football anything at all can happen, but I believe we will beat Niger on Wednesday.

“In Gabon we wasted chances against them before winning on penalties, but I hope we will win in regulation time this time.

“Nobody should underestimate the Nigeriens, it will be a difficult game but hopefully we shall win.”

The winners will face Mali (who defeated Iraq 5-1 in their last 16 clash on Tuesday) in the quarterfinals on Saturday.



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Mali ease into the U17 World Cup quarter-finals – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Mali players celebrates during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 19:34


Mali thumped Iraq 5-1 in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Last 16 match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, India on Tuesday.

As a result, Junior Eagles of Mali advance to the quarter-finals, while Iraq’s Junior Lions of Mesopotamia bow of the tournament.

The Junior Eagles started brightly and they nearly grabbed an early goal through Mohamed Camara nine minutes into the match.

Iraq goalkeeper Ali Ibadi Jabbar was alert and he produced a fine save to deny the Mali midfielder, who had unleashed a right-footed shot.

However, Mali continued to launch attacks against Junior Lions of Mesopotamia and the Africans managed to beat Jabbar in the 25th minute.

Hadji Drame scored with a right footed shot – making it 1-0 to Mali with Salam Jiddou grabbing a well deserved assist.

The momentum was with the Junior Eagles and they double their lead three minutes after the half-hour mark.

This time it was Lassana N’Diaye, who scored with a header to make it 2-0 to Mali from Djemoussa Traore’s cross.

Boubacar Haidara then set-up Drame and the latter placed his effort inches wide of the target five minutes before half-time.

Mali were deservedly leading 2-0 at the interval thanks to two goals from promising youngsters Drame and N’Diaye.

Youssouf Koita, the Mali keeper, was called into action five minutes after the restart as the Junior Lions of Mesopotamia looked to level matters.

The shot-stopper pulled off a decent save to deny Mohammed Ridha, who had tried to hit the back of the net with a right-footed shot.

Muntadher Mohammed was introduced in the 65th minute and he tried to make an immediate impact a minute later.

However, Koita produced a good save to deny the Iraq attacker, who had tried to score with a long-range shot .

With 17 minutes left on the clock, the Junior Eagles extended their lead after Drame set-up Fode Konate, who scored to make it 3-0 to Mali.

Ali Kareem managed to grab a late consolation goal in the 85th minute after beating Koita with a right-footed effort.

Mali, who were the 2015 U17 World Cup runners-up, then grabbed two late goals through Seme Camara and N’Diaye.

The match ended 5-1 in favour of Mali and they will take on either Ghana or Niger in the quarter-finals this weekend.

Mali (2) 5 (Drame 25′, N’Diaye 33′ 90 +4′, Konate 73′, S.Camara 87′).

Iraq (0) 1 (Kareem 85′)

Mali XI: Koita, Konate, Kane, Diaby, Haidara, Samake, Traore (S.Camara 82′), Giddou (Doucoure 69′), Camara (Sidibe 80′), N’Diaye, Drame.

Iraq XI: A.Jabbar, M.Jabbar, Abdulsada (Raad 46′), Abdulabbas, Albaqer, Ridha (Muntadher 65′), Shakir, Ali, Kareem, Kareem (Khalid 90′), Adn



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WC U17: Mali 5 – 1 Iraq – AS IT HAPPENED – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 18:30


That’s all from the DY Patil Stadium where Mali beat Iraq 5-1 in an entertaining match. Mali book their place to the quarter-finals, while Iraq are eliminated from the competition.

Lineups:

Mali XI: Koita, Konate, Kane, Diaby, Haidara, Samake, Traore, Giddou, Camara, N’Diaye, Drame.

Iraq XI: Jabbar, Jabbar, Abdulsada, Abdulabbas Ayad, Albaqer, Ridha, Shakir, Ali, Kareem, Kareem, Adnan.

Commentary:

FULL-TIME: Mali 5-1 Iraq.

94 +4′ – GOAL! Mali 5-1 Iraq. N’Diaye grabs his brace in stoppage time.

90′ – Iraq sub: Khaled IN, Kareem OUT.

88′ – GOAL! Mali 4-1 Iraq. Seme Camara fires past Jabbar with a left-footed effort.

85′ – GOAL! Mali 3-1 Iraq. Kareem scores a late goal with his right foot.

82′ – Mali sub: S. Camara IN, Traore OUT.

80′ – Mali sub: Sidibe IN, Camara OUT.

75′ – Iraq forward Kareem is caught offside as the the Asians look to pull one back.

73′ – GOAL! Mali 3-0 Iraq. Konate beats Jabbar with a right-footed shot.

70′ – 20 minutes left for Iraq to pull one back, but Mali keeper Koita and his defence have done well thus far.

69′ – Mali sub: Doucoure IN, Giddou OUT.

65′ – Iraq sub: Muntadher IN, Ridha OUT.

60′ – It’s still 2-0 to Mali as we reach the hour-mark.

55′ – Maytham Jabbar misses the target with a header as Iraq look to apply some pressure on Mali.

50′ – Mali goalkeeper Koita is called into action and he denies Iraq forward Ridha.

46′ – The second-half is underway.

46′ – Iraq sub: Raad IN, Abdulsada OUT.

45′ – Half-Time: Mali 2-0 Iraq.

40′ – Drame tries to extend Mali’s lead, but his right footed shot narrowly misses the target.

35′ – The 2017 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions Mali are in complete control of this match.

33′ – GOAL! Mali 2-0 Iraq. This time it’s N’Diaye with a good header.

30′ – Mali’s pressure finally paid off and Drame beat Iraq goalkeeper Jabbar with a well-taken shot.

25′ – GOAL! Mali 1-0 Iraq. Drame scores with a right footed shot.

20′- Mali foward N’Diaye’s header from very close range narrowly misses the target.

15′ – Mali qualified for the Last 16 after finishing second in Group B, while Iraq were Group F runners-up.

10′ – Drame, the Malian forward, is looking lively – he’s keeping the Iraq defence very busy.

5′ – Mali are pushing for an ealy goal against their Asian counterparts.

1′ – The match is underway.



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Mali coach expects ‘great match’ against Iraq – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 14:30


Mali coach Jonas Komla says that he expects a “great match” against Iraq in the last 16 of the U-17 World Cup later today.

The Africans champions will face the Asian side at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao this afternoon, kick-off at 16h30 CAT, in a match which will be covered live by AfricanFootball.

“The fact that we [Mali] did so well in Chile [the 2015 edition of the U-17 World Cup, where Mali were runners-up to Nigeria] and also because we are the African champions, it’s a positive pressure on the team. It influences our work in a positive sense. Our ambitions are still the same,” said Komla on Monday.

“I’m expecting a great match. From now on it’s all or nothing. Both teams fully deserve to be here in the round of 16. We respect Iraq but we wish to win tomorrow,” he added.

Mali’s strong showing at the tournament thus far makes them the favourites against Iraq, who will be without key player Mohammed Dawood due to suspension, but Komla is taking nothing for granted.

“Unfortunately for Iraq, Dawood is not available for tomorrow but this doesn’t change the philosophy of my team. Iraq are a very strong team with or without Dawood,” Komla explained.

The winners will face either Ghana or Niger (who play each other on Wednesday) in the quarterfinals.



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Ghana, Niger set for all-African battle in last 16 – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Ghana’s Sadiq Ibrahim (R) gestures during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 16, 2017. 13:00


Ghana and Niger will meet in an all-African last 16 clash at the U-17 World Cup, with their match set for the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday, kick-off at 13h30.

The Black Starlets booked their place in the knockout rounds by finishing top of a tricky Group A. The West Africans were tied on six points with both Colombia and the USA, but their superior goal difference (boosted by a 4-0 win over hosts India in the final round of pool games) saw them placed first.

Despite their strong showing thus far, Ghana have yet to really hit top gear and coach Paa Kwesi Fabin will hope that the do-or-die nature of knockout football inspires his charges to new heights.

The coach has partly blamed the gaze of scouts for his side failing to live up to their full potential: “When the players see that the scouts are around they want to impress, and even if someone is in a better position to score they act selfishly,” he explained.

“It is a big problem for us and we need to tell the boys that the better you play, the more you get recognised.”

Niger are one of the surprise qualifiers for the last 16, with the tournament debutants sneaking into the knockout rounds as one of the four best third-place finishers.

Niger beat North Korea 1-0 in their opening match before suffering 0-4 and 0-2 defeats to Spain and Brazil respectively. The Young Menas will need to bounce back

strongly from those disappointments if they are to pose a challenge to Ghana.

These teams met back in May in the semifinals of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations: the match in Port-Gentil, Gabon, ended in a goalless stalemate before the Black Starlets won 6-5 on penalties.

The winners will advance into the last eight and face either Mali or Iraq in the first quarterfinal on Saturday in Guwahati.



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Niger reach U17 World Cup last 16 – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 18:49


Brazil secured a 2-0 victory over Niger in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Group D match at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, India on Friday.

The victory sees Brazil’s Junior Verde-Amarela advance to the last 16 as group winners, while the Junior Menas of Niger also advance to the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams.

The Junior Verde-Amarela applied some pressure on the Junior Menas defence from the first minute as they searched for an early goal.

The South American side did find the goal they had been looking for after the Niger defence was exposed four minutes into the game.

Paulinho made good run down the right hand side and he played a low cross for Brenner, who scored with a tap in to make it 1-0 to Brazil.

The Junior Menas found it difficult to unlock the Junior Verde-Amarela defence which was marshalled by Lucas Halter.

It was soon 2-0 to Brazil after Lincoln beat Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali with a deflected free-kick in the 34th minute.

Brazil then suffered a blow on the stroke of half as Vitinho, their star midfielder, had to be substituted with the teenager looking sick.

However, Niger could not level matters as Brazil managed to contain the African side and the score was 2-0 to Junior Verde-Amarela at half-time.

Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao was the busier of the two shot-stoppers in the opening stages of the second-half as Niger looked to equalize.

Yacine Wa Massamba, the Niger midfielder, unleashed a powerful shot which was saved by Brazao in the 55th minute.

The Junior Verde-Amarela were losing balls in their own half and they were nearly punished by Massamba just after the hour-mark.

Brazao had to produce a wonderful diving save – parrying away the diminutive attacker’s thunderous effort from range.

The Junior Menas came very close to snatching a late goal with six minutes left, but once again Brazao was alert and he brilliantly finger-tipped Habibou Sofiane’s long range effort over the crossbar.

The match ended 2-0 in favour of Brazil, who managed to contain Niger in the dying minutes of the encounter.

Niger (0) 0

Brazil (2) 2 (Brenner 4′, Lincoln 34′)

Niger: Ibrahim, Idrissa, Hassane, Mossi, Moussa, Namata, Laba, Sofiane, Arzakou, Tinni (Abdourahmane 48′), Amoustapha (Marou 52′).

Brazil: Gabriel Brazão, Wesley, Vitão, Lucas Halter, Weverson (Luan Candido 82′), Marcos Antonio, Victor Bobsin, Paulinho (Rodrigo Nestor 74′), Vitinho (Helio Junio 45+2′), Lincoln, Brenner.



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Ayiah ecstatic after firing Ghana into knockout stages – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Eric Ayiah of Ghana challenged by Samuel Conte of Guinea during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Guinea and Ghana at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 20 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 18:00


Ghana Under-17 captain Eric Ayiah is pleased to have inspired his side to victory over India on Thursday.

The Black Starlets thumped the host nation India 4-0 in the 2017 FIFA World Cup Group A match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

The promising forward netted in each half as Ghana finished at the top of the group and they qualified for the knockout stages.

“The first and the second matches were tough,” Ayiah told the media after the match.

“I know we’ll meet such challenges in the world cup but I know I needed to prove my clout,” he continued.

“I had chances to score in those two game but I didn’t utilize them, so my coach taught me how to be composed in front of goal.

“I heeded to his advise and it helped me perform greatly today.”

The attacker is now two goals behind the tournament’s top goal scorer Amine Gouiri, who has scored four goals for France.



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Guinea bow out of U17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Ibrahima Sory Soumah of Guinea

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 15:40


Germany defeated Guinea 3-1 in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Group C match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India on Friday.

As a result, Germany advance to the last 16, while Guinea’s Junior Elephants bow out of the global tournament.

The Junior Elephants were able to contain their European counterparts in the opening exchanges.

However, Guinea made a mistake at the back in the eighth and they were punished by Jann-Fiete Arp, who made it 1-0 to Germany.

The Africans then attacked in numbers in search of the equalizing goal and Ibrahima Soumah had a chance to score in the 22nd minute.

However, the right-back fired over the crossbar after making a good run as the Elephants pressed Germany, who now under pressure.

Soumah made amends for his earlier miss in the 26th minute as he grab his second goal of the tournament after beating his marker – making it 1-1 for Guinea.

Germany tried to restore parity, but Dennis Jastrzembsk placed his effort over the crossbar in the 40th minute with Guinea defence exposed.

The score was 0-0 between Guinea and Germany at half-time with the Junior Elephants having fought back to contain the Europeans.

It should have been 2-1 to Germany a minute into the second-half, but Guinea goalkeeper Mohamed Camara made a brilliant save to deny Nikolas Kuhn.

However, Camara was beaten by Kuhn, who scored with a low shot after bursting into the Guinea box – making it 2-1 to Germany in the 62nd minute.

Djibril Sylla, an attack-minded player, was introduced by the Guinea coach Souleymane Camara as the Junior Elephants searched for another equalizing goal.

However, Germany sat back and they launched counter attacks in the closing stages of the match. The Euproeans were awarded a late penalty after Jessic Ngankam was fouled in the box.

Ahverdi Cetin then stepped up and fired past Camara from the spot-kick sealing Germany’s 3-1 win over Guinea in stoppage time.

Guinea (1) 1 (I.Soumah 26′)

Germany (1) 3 (Arp 8′, Kuhn 62′, Cetin 92′)

Guinea: M. Camara, S. Conte, I. Soumah, M. Camara, I. Traore, S. Camara, A. Camara, E. Bah (D.Sylla 72′), D.Toure, F.Soumah (A.Soumahn 63′), S. Cisse.

Germany: Plogmann, Mai, Nitzl, Becker, Vagnoman (Boller 86′), Bisseck, Abouchabaka (Cetin 78′), Keitel, Kühn, Arp, Jastrzembski (Ngankam 61′).



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Ghana thrash India to top Group A – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Ghana’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match against Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 18:58


Ghana have won Group A at the U-17 World Cup after thrashing hosts India 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Black Starlets finished level on six points with both Colombia and USA (the former beat the latter 3-1 in a simultaneous match in Mumbai), but their handsome goal difference of +4 saw them top the log and claim automatic progression into the last 16.

Ghana were on the front foot from early on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances and found Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem a tough man to beat.

However, the Black Starlets remained patient and were finally rewarded a couple of minutes before the half-time break, with skipper Eric Ayiah providing a fine finish to an incisive passing movement.

It took just seven minutes of the second half for Ghana to double their advantage and again it was a case of Ayiah finishing off a good team move, with the West Africans able to slice open the hosts’ defence.

The match looked set to end at 2-0, with Ghana seemingly happy to take a two-goal win, but news that Colombia were leading the other group match sparked the Black Starlets back to life.

They claimed two late goals through Mohammed Kudus and Emmanuel Toku in the 86th and 87th minutes respectively – the additional strikes saw Ghana rise clear of Colombia and the USA on goal difference.

Ghana will face a third-placed team from either Group C or D in their last 16 clash in Navi Mumbai on October 18.

Ghana (1) 2 (Aiyah 43’ 52’, Kudus 86’, Toku 87’)

India 0

Ghana: I. Danlad, N. Yakubu, B. Terry Owusu, G. Mensah, R. Alhassan, I. Gyamfi, G. Leveh, S. Ibrahim (E. Toku 56’), I. Sulley, E. Arko-Mensah (M. Kudus 76’), E. Ayiah (R. Danso 82’)



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Niger eye Brazil scalp in Group D clash – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Spanish defender Jaume Mateu (L) duels for the ball against Niger’s midfielder Karim Tinni (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group D soccer match between Spain and Niger at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India, 10 October 2017. EPA/PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 16:00


Niger will face off with Brazil in their third encounter at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

Kick-off is at 16h30 CAT.

The Group D match will be played at the Fatorda Stadium in the Indian city of Margao.

Niger were thumped 4-0 by Spain in their last group match which was played in Kochi, India on Tuesday.

The defeat left the Junior Menas placed third on the Group D table with three points from two games. They are three points behind the leaders Brazil with one game left.

Karim Tinni Sanda, the Niger captain, will look to inspire the Junior Menas to victory over Brazil.

Meanwhile, Brazil secured a 2-0 win over North Korea in their last group match which was played in Kochi on Tuesday.

As a result, the Junior Verde-Amarela are placed at the top of the Group D standings with six points from two games. They have already qualified for the knockout stages.

Paulinho has scored in Brazil’s two games in this competition and he will look to help his side beat Niger.

Referee Bobby Madden, who hails from Scotland, will officiate the match between Niger and Brazil.

Niger will progress into the knockout stages if they win the game.



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Mali advance into second round of U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Mali players celebrates during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 15:31



Mali have advanced into the second round of the U-17 World Cup after they defeated New Zealand 3-1 at Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The result saw the Eaglets finish in second place in Group B on six points, three adrift of leaders Paraguay, who easily defeated Turkey in the other pool match.

Mali dominated from early on and made their pressure pay in the 18th minute when Salam Giddou scored with a magnificent long-range shot into the top corner of the net, giving New Zealand goalkeeper Zac Jones no chance whatsoever.

It was almost 2-0 to the West Africans late in the half when Lassana N’Diaye struck the goalkeeper’s left-hand post with well-struck effort.

The Eaglets needed just five minutes of the second half to double their advantage, with Djemoussa Traore scoring from a fine curling shot that beat Jones’ left hand before nestling in the back of the net.

New Zealand pulled a goal back through substitute Charles Spragg in the 72nd minute, but Mali eased an fears of a comeback when striker N’Diaye scored for the third march in succession to make it 3-1 in the 82nd minute.

Mali, as second-place finishers in Group B, will face the runners-up in Group F – one of England, Iraq, Mexico or Chile – in their last 16 clash in Margao on October 17.

Mali (1) 3 (S. Giddou 18’, D. Traore 50’, L. N’Diaye 82’)

New Zealand (0) 1 (Spragg 72’)

Mali: Y. Koita, F. Konate (S. Sidibe 84’), M. Fofana, B. Haidara, I. Kane, H. Drame (M. Traore 68’), M. Samake, M. Camara (C.O. Doucoure 58’), S. Giddou, D. Traore, L. N’Diaye



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Guinea eye U17 World Cup knockout stages – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 15:00


Guinea will lock horns with Germany in their third match at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

Kick-off is at 13h30 CAT.

The Group C match is set to take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Indian city of Kochi.

The Junior Elephants drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in their previous group match in Margao, India on Tuesday.

The draw sees Guinea placed fourth on the Group C standings with one point. They are two points behind second-placed Germany with one game left.

Fandje Toure, who was on the scoresheet for the Junior Elephants against Costa Rica, will look to fire the African side to victory on Friday.

Meanwhile, Germany were thumped 4-0 by Iran in their previous group match in Margao on Tuesday.

The defeat left Germany placed second on the Group C standings with three points. They are three points behind the leaders Iran.

Jann-Fiete Arp, who scored for Germany against Costa Rica, is the dangerman for the European side.

Referee John Pitti, who is from Panama, will be in charge of the match between Guinea and Germany.

The winner between the two sides will advance to the knockout stages.



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Mali look to up their game for New Zealand clash – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Mali players celebrates during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 11, 2017. 10:30


Mali will look for further improvement and a place in the last 16 of the U-17 World Cup when they take on New Zealand in their final Group B match on Thursday, set for the Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The Eaglets bounced back to winning form with a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Turkey on Monday, with Djemoussa Traore, Lassana N’Diaye and Fode Konate scoring the goals.

The result leaves Mali placed second in Group B with three points. Paraguay lead the way with six points, while New Zealand and Turkey are in third and fourth respectively with a point apiece.

A win will guarantee the West Africans a place in the last 16, while a draw may also be enough, depending on the other group result between Paraguay and Turkey.

Mali were much improved from their opening 3-2 defeat to Paraguay, though coach Jonas Komla believes they are still some way short of their best.

“We had worked on both offence and defence as well as our mental aspect as it was important for our players to take on any opposition with confidence,” said Komla.

“Our plans did succeed to some extent but we are not the finished product as yet. We have some more work to do.”

The Eaglets will miss Abdoyulaye Diaby for the game against New Zealand after his second booking on Monday, but Komla said the team does not depend on any individual player.

“Ours is a team effort and the collective strength of the team is going to be intact. There are others to step into the breach,” he said.



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