Hamidou Traore’s brace since coming on as a substitute was enough for Mali to beat South Africa 2-1 in their Group B fixture on Thursday at the Caroline Faye Stadium in M’bour.
The Malian striker scored within nine minutes of play after Motjeka Madisha put Amajita in the lead half-way through the second-half.
The Eaglets paced off well taking advantage of the errors of the Amajita defence who because of poor cover from the midfield. Mali had two good great opportunities in the seventh minute to influence the score sheet but on each scoring opportunity Malick Toure shot wide with only South keeper Dumsani Msibi to beat.
Mali had the better of possession and continuously pressured the South African defence.., Mali again was on the attack and Aboubacar Doumbia squared to Souleymane Diarra but the latter sent a flying shot wide.
South Africa’s only chance in the first half came on 37th minute from a corner kick taken by Moegammad Domingo but Pule Maraisane headed wide from close range. Minutes later, indecisiveness on the part of South African Keeper Msibi almost cost his side but he had a breather when Toure headed of target after a Mohamed Guilavogui cross.
Despite the dominance of the Malians, it was South Africa who broke the deadlock on 72 minutes from the spot. A through pass from Morne Nel found Dumisani Zuma, who raced forward only to be felled by Hamidou Maiga for a penalty. Captain Madisha sent keeper Sory Ibrahim Traore the wrong way for the opener.
The lead lasted for only five minutes before Orange Man of the Match Hamidou Traore drew level with a curling shot after spotting Msibi off his line. Falaye Sacko set Traore up from a corner, who fired a curled shot that caught Msibi off guard for the deserving equalizer.
Four minutes from time, Traore scored the winner with a spectacular bicycle kick from Diarra’s cross from the right to make it two wins out of it two for his side.
Mali are now almost assured of a berth in the semis and the FIFA U-20 World Cup with six points, whilst South Africa are without a point from two games.
By: Jammeh E.K. Bojang