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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Paraguay pip Mali in five-goal thriller

Paraguary took a two-goal lead and then punished Mali for their poor finishing with a winner in a thrilling FIFA U-17 World Cup Group B game at the DY Patil Stadium.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 06, 2017 23:55 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Paraguay men's national under-17 football team
A successful penalty strike in the second half helped Paraguay beat Mali 3-2 in an engaging FIFA U-17 World Cup Group B game on Friday. (AP)

Football fans were treated to highest quality of attacking football as Paraguay defeated Mali 3-2 in a five-goal thriller in Group B’s second match in the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium on Friday.

Antonio Galeano and Leonardo Sanchez put the South Americans in the commanding position with two goals in 17 minutes, but Mali found parity before halftime courtesy Haji Drame and Lassana Ndiaye. Alan Rodriguez won it for the Paraguayans from the penalty spot in the second half. (Paraguay vs Mali Highlights)

Statistics will stand testament to the high-octane contest, with Paraguay registering 11 shots on Youssouf Koita’s goal and Mali responding with eight of their own. Mali will surely rue their missed opportunities as Paraguay lead Group B with full points on Match Day 1.

Galeano’s superb solo

Paraguay started on the front foot with a brilliant individual effort from Antonio Galeano in the 12th minute. He received the ball off a Paraguayan free kick that was punched out by Koita. Galeano controlled on his chest before dispatching a thunderous half volley across the keeper.

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Paraguay’s ultra-aggressive approach reaped added rewards five minutes later, doubling their advantage. Salam Giddou lost the ball to Leonardo Sanchez, who turned two players to get into the box before slotting it past Koita at the near post.

The African champions responded almost immediately. Giddou combined beautifully with Haji Drame, skipping past three players to lay it for Drame, who fired past Diego Huesca.

Mali could have equalised in the 29th minute with Lassana Ndiaye’s feint past two Paraguayan defenders opening up space for him inside the box. To his disappointment, the shot bounced back off the crossbar.

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Ndiaye though made amends five minutes later, netting Mali’s second and putting them on level pegging. Mali midfielder Djemoussa Traore sped past Paraguay’s midfield on the left flank to set up Ndiaye, who put it past a rushing Huesca in the 34th minute.

A high intensity, end-to-end contest ensued for the remainder of the first half with both teams creating ample opportunities to take the lead.

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Like in the first 45 minutes, the Paraguayans asserted themselves at the start of the second half. But it was Mali who came up with the first clear-cut chance. Ndiaye was found himself one-on-one with Huesca, who parried from the edge of the box.

A wasteful Mali were punished in the 55th minute when Abdoulaye Diaby was penalised for hand ball inside the box. Rodriguez, with the crowd egging him on, fired into the right of the goal above Koita, which proved Paraguay’s winner.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 22:34 IST