Sunday, October 25, 2015 12:12 am
Mali have ended their run in Group D, finishing top and winning 7 points in three matches.
The West Africans shot themselves atop the table and qualified for the Round of 16 like Nigeria, following a 3-0 bashing Saturday night over Honduras in Estadio Nelson Oyarzun Arenas in Chillan.
Amadou Haidara, captain Abdoul Dante and Aly Malle earned the three points for Les Aiglonnets who will enter the Round of 16 high on confidence after an impressive showing against their Central American opponents.
Mali opened the scoring seven minutes in with an excellent individual effort from Haidara beating three Honduran defenders before beating Michael Perello from 22 yards. Haidara danced through Honduras’ backline on a mazy run and kept his composure to fire past Perello at the near post.
Mali then doubled their lead with a near carbon copy of their first goal. A clever first touch opened up space for Les Aiglonnets’ captain and Dante fired from nearly the same position as where Haidara scored, but this time he beat Honduras’ No1 to his far post.
Honduras came close to scoring in a frantic scramble to reach a rebound and although the ball crossed the line, the goal was ruled out for offside, leaving Los Catrachos much work to do in the second half. However, Honduras continued to struggle with Mali’s high-pressing, direct style of football and the Central Americans struggled to get the ball out of their half.
Mali made it 3-0 ten minutes after half-time through Malle’s finish as a result of their direct play, which Honduras had a hard time containing. The No9’s determination in front of goal wrapped up the game for Mali and Baye Ba’s side did well to see out the game.
As Honduras head home after without a win, Mali will prepare for their Round of 16 contest against a third-place finisher from Group B, E or F.
In the second match of the group, Ecuador beat Belgium 2-0.
*from reports by fifa.com