Golden Eaglets beat Mali to retain title, make history

The golden eaglets of Nigeria defeated Mali in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final to retain their title.

 

This victory, makes Nigeria only the second side to retain the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win against Mali in Vina Del Mar.

Victor Osimhen's record-breaking tenth goal of the tournament, with Funsho Bamgboye adding a second moments later sealed the fate of the Malians.

Samuel Diarra had saved an early Osinachi Ebere penalty as the Malians played their part in an entertaining finale to Chile 2015.

The penalty came as both sides were just finding their rhythm in the opening exchanges, Chato the culprit with a handball. Ebere saw his low effort saved brilliantly by Diarra, the No17's follow up header hit the bar before a third bite of the cherry was blocked by the Malian defence.

Both sides had chances in a tense opening period, with Golden Eaglets skipper Kelechi Nwakali hitting just wide and Boubacar Traore seeing his glancing header tipped over by Akpan Udoh.

The first half ended goalless.

The second half saw the game burst into life, with Emmanuel Amuneke's words clearly working their magic on the Nigerian youngsters.

Mali did not heed the warning signs as Nigeria mounted the pressure. Good approach play by substitute Chinedu Madueke saw him tee up Osimhen for his record-breaking goal, seeing him surpass the nine goals scored by Florent Sinama Pongolle in 2001 and Souleymane Coulibaly ten years later.

The holders doubled their advantage mere minutes later, with Bamgboye bursting down the Nigerian left before smashing a powerful effort at goal, Diarra standing little chance.

Despite a couple of late chances for Mali, from corner kicks, Nigeria retained possession for large spells and saw the game out to retain their crown. The jubilant scenes on the final whistle in Vina Del Mar will surely live long in the memories of these Nigerian heroes of the present, some of whom may just become the stars of the future.

In doing so, the Nigerians claimed the fifth U-17 World Cup crown, following on from their previous successes at China 1985, Japan 1993, Korea Republic 2007 and UAE 2013. In addition, they finished as runners-up at Canada 1987, Trinidad and Tobago 2001 and Nigeria 2009.

Belgium earned a place on the podium for 3rd place as they defeated Mexico 3-2.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Karpin takes over as Russia manager

Pochettino pens new PSG deal despite tricky start to reign

Goal and arrow: Brazil's Paulinho makes stand against religious intolerance at Olympics

Team Nigeria parade at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympic Games

Sancho, the $100 million man, wants to bring trophies back to Man Utd

'World class' Sancho brings style and swagger to Man Utd

Manchester United sign Sancho on five-year deal from Dortmund

'Happy' Son signs new four-year deal at Tottenham

Real Madrid striker Benzema tests positive for Covid-19