By NDINAWE SIMPELWE –
GUINEA has become the second team to qualify to the South Korea under-20 FIFA World Cup after beating Mali in the teams’ Group A tie that also earned them a semi final spot at the ongoing CAF under-20 championship.
Zambia topped the group on nine points followed by Guinea on four points while Mali finished bottom with one point while Egypt mastered two points.
GUINEA coach Mandjou Diallo expressed happiness at the team’s achievement saying he never doubted his players’ even after failing to win in the first two games in the group.
“We had to make some changes and the changes that we made saw us come up with a different way of play and it went in our favour. We played well because the players followed the instructions very well,” said Diallo.
Diallo said he would not let the 3-2 come-from-behind win get to the heads of the players despite qualifying from a tough group and will not even start dreaming of reaching the final.
Mali coach Baye Ba said he was sad to have given away the lead again and lose the game which cost them a place in the semi-finals as well as a place at the World Cup.
He said his side made a lot of mistakes and failed to utilise the many scoring chances they created but said the team will plan better for future games.
“We had a very bad tournament especially in the game against Zambia, we could have gotten something against Egypt better than just a point and coming to today’s game, we missed a lot of chances, we also committed a few errors that cost us the match,” Ba said.
Guinea had to twice come from behind in this game to win 3-2 to join Zambia in the semi finals and will wait to see who will top Group B today whom they will face on Wednesday.
Sekou Koita gave Mali a false start as early as the third minute which lasted until the half time whistle despite dominating play and missing a number of chances.
Mali were made to pay for their first half wastefulness in the 47th minute when Morlaye Sylla converted a penalty for the equaliser but Mali quickly restored their lead four minutes through a penalty of their own converted by Moussa Diakite.
But Guinea showed their never-say-die attitude when Sylla curled in a 58th minute free-kick to go level again.
Aly Camara scored the winner in the 72nd minute after heading-in a corner to stun Mali who were pre-tournament favourites.
They will be packing for home today.