By Victor Okoye
Mali on Sunday defeated Senegal 3-2 on penalty kicks to claim their maiden Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title following a 1-1 stalemate at extra time in Niamey.
The Naija Politico (NAN) reports that the match played at the Stade General Seyni Kountche saw the Malians opening scoring in the 15th minute,
This was after Boubacar Traore hammered home Hadji Drame’s delivery for Senegal to find themselves behind for the first time in the tournament.
Senegal 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.
Ndiaye, the tournament’s leading goalscorer, 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.
NAN also reports that Senegal’s Ndiaye was handed the highest goal scorer award, while the Most Valuable Player award went to his compatriot Moussa Ndiaye.
Senegal also won the Fair Play Award of the tournament.
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 Feb. 2.