2019 U-20 AFCON: Mali beat Senegal to emerge champions


…as Flying Eagles finish 4th

Mali defeated Senegal 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw of regulation time to lift the 2019 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations trophy in Niamey (Niger) on Sunday.
Senegal lost the final of the U-20 CAN for the third consecutive time, while the Aiglons won the trophy for the first time in their history.
Boubacar Traoré was demonstrated a formidable efficiency by taking advantage of a center wrongly pushed back by the opposing defense to chain hook and hit the surface, opening the score for Mali (1-0 on the 16 minute.
Free-scoring Senegal side this time, struggled to return to the match but the Aiglons missed the check mark after the break when El Bilal Toure found the net before bumping the ball into the Malian goalie to pull parity in the crucial fixture.
Mamoutou Kané’s men had just missed two big opportunities to fold the match and they were going to pay dearly since Senegal equalized by Souleymane in the 76 minute.
To break the tie, both teams had to go through overtime. There too without much success since the Senegalese goalkeeper pushed a hot balloon first before seeing the Lionceaux get opportunities in the opposing area but failed to find target.
With Lopy’s shot on the post, the session started badly for Senegal as Malians Boubacar Traoré, Lassana N’Diaye and Abdoulaye Diaby (despite the goalkeeper’s impressive display denied them any goal.
Formosa Mendy and Lamine Diack kept Senegal alive but Messin Amadou Ndiaye saw his shot pushed back by the goalkeeper, putting Mali on the road to royal rule.
Malian Mamadou Samaké however found the bar, delaying the deadline. ButOusseynou Niang definitely led the Malians to the promise land when he brilliantly netted the winner for them during the spot kicks.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, finished their campaign at the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations on a disappointing note as they were beaten 5-3 on penalties by South Africa’s Amajita on Saturday.
The Flying Eagles who are seven-time champions of this tournament were caged all through the encounter as they fired blanks all through the regulation period as well as the extra time before the game was finally decided via penalties.
Just as it was the case in the Semifinal game against Mali, the Flying Eagles lost their opening kick in the penalty shootouts and that proved costly as the South Africans seized the advantage from then and went on to win.
Saturday’s triumph is quite historic for South Africa as this is the first time ever, they will be finishing in third place in the history of the competition.
Their second-place finish over 20 years ago in Morocco remains the best ever performance by the South Africans.
For Nigeria, this is also the first time ever they will be finishing in the fourth place.
The Flying Eagles have won the Africa U-20 title on a record seven times, finished as runners-up on two occasions and settled for third place on three other occasions.

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