U17 AFCON: Mali and Burkina Faso pocket the last two semi-final tickets

U17 AFCON: Mali and Burkina Faso pocket the last two semi-final tickets

Mali and Burkina Faso complete the semi-finals teams of the ongoing U17 AFCON. The Aiglonnets easily disposed of Congo while the Etalons beat Nigeria. These two teams join Morocco and Senegal in the last four. The semi-finalists of the competition are qualified for the World Cup of the category.

Mali made sure they respected their status. The Malian team beat Congo 3-0 in the quarterfinals on Thursday evening. The Aiglonnets dominated this game from start to finish. They opened the score in the 8th minute. Ange Tia broke brilliantly into the opponent's box after a deep pass from Doumbia and placed the ball in the left corner of Bonazebi's box. Doumbia almost made it 2-0 for Mali in the 26th minute with a half-cleared shot from the edge of the box, but it was off target. Five minutes later he made it 2-0 with a low shot from a Barry pass (31st).

In the second half, Mali continued to exert the same pressure and even thought they had scored a third goal in the 53rd minute. Doumbia, who was served by captain Ibrahim Diarra, put the ball in the back of the net. But his goal was disallowed for offside. But it was only a temporary setback for the Malians. A minute later, they were awarded a penalty after Mahamoud Barry's cross landed on Brad-Hamilton Mantsounga's hand. Barry then added to the tally.

Congo had the chance to reduce the deficit. The Diablotins were awarded a penalty late in the game. Bantsiele took his responsibilities but goalkeeper Bourama Kone made a brilliant save to sign a new clean sheet.

Burkina Faso surprise Nigeria

Nigeria will not win a fifth U17 Africa Cup of Nations this year. The Golden Eaglets were stopped by a talented Burkina Faso team. But the match was hard fought. It was the Nigerians who dominated in the first minutes of the game. In the seventh minute, Abubakar Abdullahi saw his shot from the edge of the box hit the crossbar, while on the quarter-hour mark, Agada saw his close-range shot go wide. In the 37th minute, the same Agada had another chance when he broke down the right but his shot was well saved by the keeper.

The Burkinabe were more realistic. Aboubakar Camara scored from close range after Nigerian defender Tochukwu Ogboji failed to clear from inside the box. The Stallions took the lead at the break (1-0). They came back and added to their tally. They were awarded a penalty after Souleymane Alio was brought down in the box by Ogboji. Camara took the penalty and scored.

With their backs against the wall, the Nigerians increased their attacks in the opposing area. The Golden Eaglets managed to reduce the gap in the 67th. Emmanuel Michael's cross was met by Abdullahi, who put the ball in the back of the net. Nigeria pushed for an equaliser. Substitute Favour Daniel saw his curling header hit the bar, while Umar Abubakar's curling free-kick was saved for a corner. Despite numerous attempts, Nigeria lost. Burkina Faso have now clinched the final ticket to the semi-finals and the World Cup.

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