By El-Amisty Nobo| Follow Amisty on twitter @ElAmistyNobo
Mali proved why they are a force to reckon with in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament having lusciously washed aside Iraq 5-1 in the round of 16 on Tuesday, October 17 at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, India.
The 2015 runners-up [Mali] reduced what was expected to be a battling encounter into a mere training rehearsals as they pinned the Iraqi’s to the third half of the pitch throughout the first half, scoring two goals in the process.
The Eaglets broke the deadlock in the 25th minute through Hadji Drame which marked the 2,000th goal since the inception of the FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament.
A long pass from deep midfield found the most promising Salam Jiddou on the left side of attack only for him to release the ball into the eighteen yard box for the lurking Drame to power the West Africans into the lead.
Mali extended their lead in the 33rd minute through Lassana N’Diaye beautiful flying header to register his fourth goal of the tournament having been put through by Djemoussa Traore’s cross.
Mali did not retreat from the break and deservingly registered their third goal in the 73rd minute through Fode Konate’s powerful shot.
Iraq pulled one back out of nothing really in the 85th minute through Ali Kareem but his goal rather angered the African champions who went on to score two more goals through Seme Camara [87th], and Lassana N’Diaye [94th] who is on level [5 goals] with Amine Gouiri [France].
Mali will meet the winner of the Ghana-Niger game in the quarter-final stage.
Below are the starting line-ups;
Mali: Koita, Haidara, Djemoussa, Diaby, Konate, Camara, Drame, Samake, Kane, Salam, N’Daiye.
Iraq: Ibadi, Matham, Muntadher, Kareem, Ridha, Alaa, Bassam, Ayad, Albaquer, Ali, Moamel.
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