Mali beat Argentina 3-0 to claim third place in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia on Friday.
Ibrahim Diarra, a key player for Mali and one of the stars of the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scored the opening goal in the ninth minute.
Mali’s captain masterfully controlled a lofted pass from Sekou Kone and unleashed a pinpoint strike into the bottom corner.
Mali was the second-place finisher in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015.
Mali maintained control of the game and earned their second goal on the stroke of halftime. Makalou was the creator, and Doumbia delivered his free-kick delivery.
Argentina attempted to regain its footing after the restart, but Hamidou Makalou’s strike effectively ended the game within three minutes.
Makalou alighted on the ball just inside the box, nutmegged Tobias Palacio, and sidestepped Dylan Gorosito and goalkeeper Jeremias Florentin with a quick body swerve before tapping into an empty net.
Argentina’s Claudio Echeverri – who came on as a half-time substitute – thought he had reduced the deficit with a neat finish shortly after the hour, but he had strayed offside.
Makalou almost scored a spectacular second when his thunderous free-kick smashed off the underside of the crossbar. There were to be no further goals, however, as Mali comfortably saw out a mightily impressive victory.
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“We’re happy. We would have liked to take home the cup, but this bronze medal is very nice. During the match, we stuck together, and I dedicate this victory to the Malian people,” Diarra said after the match.
On the other hand, the Albiceleste, who had turned a lot of heads after a commanding win against arch-rival Brazil, earlier in the tournament, finished fourth for the third time in the history of the tournament (2001, 2013, 2023).