Mali on Sunday clinched her first ever title in her maiden Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) outing after beating Senegal 3-2 on penalty kicks. This followed a 1-1 stalemate at extra time in Niamey.
The match played at the Stade General Seyni Kountche saw the Malians opening scoring in the 15th minute, after Boubacar Traore hammered home Hadji Drame’s delivery for Senegal to find themselves behind for the first time in the tournament.
Senegal however, replied 17 minutes from normal time through FC Metz’s Amadou Ndiaye who volleyed in the equaliser from close range to force the match to extra time and then penalty kicks.
The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Ndiaye, then missed his kick before teammate Ousseynou Niang also missed to hand Mali the advantage.
The young Malians held their nerves in the pulsating shootout to hand Senegal their third successive defeat in the final.
They converted their three consecutive penalty kicks through Traore, Lassana Ndiaye and Abdoulaye Diaby.
Senegal’s Ndiaye was handed the highest goal scorer award, while the Most Valuable Player award went to his compatriot Moussa Ndiaye. The country also won the Fair Play Award of the tournament.
The Nigeria team had taken fourth place in the tourney after losing in the third place match.
The biennial continental youth football tournament, organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was in its 15th edition. It is for players aged 20 and below, and the 2019 edition had kicked off on.