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U17 World Cup: Mali, Nigeria set up all-African finale

first_imgNigeria and Mali have set up an all-African final at the ongoing 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.Both teams won their respective semis on Thursday.Mali, African champions, have reached the final of the for the first time ever after coming from behind to defeat Belgium in the first semi. Dante Rigo gave the Europeans the lead on 16 minutes before Boubacar Traore leveled with a sublime effort on 22 minutes. Sidiki Maiga gave the Eaglets the lead ten minutes after the break and Sekou Koita wrapped up the win in the 85th minute.A game later, Nigeria joined them after defeating Mexico 4-2 . The Mexicans dominated the opening half hour, and deservedly took the lead after just seven minutes through a Kevin Magana snap shot from close range.However after wasting a couple of glorious chances, the Nigerians made them pay when skipper Kelechi Nwakali equalised with a well-struck free kick from just outside the area in the 35th minute. A stunning shot from distance ensured Orji Okonkwo gave the reigning champions the lead in the 43rd minute. After the break a magical solo run from Diego Coates ended with the Mexican pulling his team level on the hour mark.Parity lasted just seven minutes before Osinachi Ebere restored Nigeria\’s lead with a powerful angled shot that the goalkeeper got his hand to but could not keep out.Top striker Victor Osimhen then capped the lead from the spot on 83 minutes to become one of three joint-top scorers in the competition’s history. He ties France’s Sinama Pongolle (2001) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Souleymane Coulibaly (2011) with nine goals. He however has a chance to go one better against Mali in the final.It is the second all-African final in the tournament’s history, with Nigeria also involved in the first in 1993 when they beat Ghana 2-1 in Japan.Nigeria, who are the defending champions, have a chance to win their fifth title and pull two clear of the closest rivals. For Mali it is a chance to win their first title in the competition. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img

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