Brazil edge Mali to end third

Brazil edge Mali to end third
Brazil recorded a rather uncharacteristic 2-0 win over Mali to finish third in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan on Saturday.

In a game that saw Mali create numerous openings in the final third, the Samba Boys’ were more clinical with their finishing in the limited chances they had. Goals from Alan Souza (55th minute) and Yuri Alberto (88th minute) proved to be the difference between the two.

The teams had entertained everyone with their attacking play throughout the tournament. And on Saturday, they held nothing back as they went up against each other in search of some solace after a heartbreaking end to their campaign a few nights ago in the semifinals.

Brazil stayed true their attacking trio of Brenner, Paulinho and Alan, with Lincoln operating as the a lone striker up front. Mali opted to throw numbers in their attack with Lassana N’Diya leading a three-prong attack in the company of Djemoussa Traore and Hadji Drame. It came as no surprise then that it was Mali who came close to drawing the first blood.

As it has been throughout the competition, Traore was quick to race past his marker and float in a well-weighted cross into the Brazilian penalty area. But unfortunately for him, N’Diaya was slow to reach the ball.

N’Diaya could have had a shot at the goal soon after. This time, Drame found his strike partner with a juicy pass in the Brazilian penalty area. But the Mali forward was once again slow to react and allowed Lucas Halter to clear the ball without much trouble.

The Brazilians too had a crack or two at the Mali goal in the first half. Though they were the second best side in the opening 45 minutes, managing just two shots as compared to 10 by Mali, the Samba Boys’ managed to sneak behind the Mali backline to test Youssouf Koita in the goal. But it was not until a howler from Koita that Brazil finally got their noses ahead.

Pouncing on a loose pass from Mamdou Samake, Alan darted ahead towards the Mali goal before firing a shot at the target. Though it looked a routine save for Koita, he allowed the bouncing ball to slip past him and into the net.

The goal seemed to give Brazil a much-needed sting in their attack as the Carlos Amadeu-coached stitched better passes and got into open spaces in the blink of an eye. Though Mali tried their best to equalise through attempts from N’Diaya, skipper Mohamed Camara and Ibrahim Kane, nothing seemed to disturb Brazilian citadel and they wrapped up the game in style with a late goal from Alberto.

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