- Mali have won the last two U-17 titles in Africa
- Paraguayans recover after giving up a two-goal lead
- Paraguay meet New Zealand, Mali take on Turkey in next group games
Paraguay were on the winning end of a scintillating FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 match against Mali in Group B, with Alan Rodriguez converting the winning penalty in the second half.
The two teams put on quite a first half show in Navi Mumbai, with four goals scored in a 22-minute stretch. Paraguay tallied the first two after some sloppy defending by the Africans, with Antonio Galeano and Leonardo Sanchez rewarded after a blistering shot and a quick turn in the box, respectively.
The Malians showed the fight that led them to the U-17 World Cup final two years ago in Chile, and they struck back within minutes, as Hadji Drame controlled the ball in traffic at the edge of the area and blasted into the net. Lassana N’Diaye could have actually put them in front in the next quarter of an hour after two speedy breaks, but he hit the crossbar with his first effort before equalising just after the half-hour mark.
Les Aiglonnets rued that missed opportunity after a hand ball in the area allowed Paraguay’s Rodriguez to put the South Americans in front for good. They also top the group after the first matchday following New Zealand’s 1-1 draw with Turkey in Friday’s earlier contest.