Flying Eagles of Nigeria's conqueror in the semifinals, Mali yesterday claimed her first title of the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Senegal 3-2 on penalties held at the Stade Général S. K. in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The Malians, who had earlier lost 0-2 to the superior power of the Senegalese during the group B stage of the tournament, surprisingly took the lead in the 15th minutes of the match through Mamoutou Kane, with the assistance of Boubacar Traore for the opening goal of the encounter.
The Senegalese replied back in the 73rd minute when Amadou Ndiaye scored a close range volley to drag the match into extra time and eventually penalties. In the excruciating penalty kicks, the Malian scored three of their attempts, while the Senegalese managed to put two behind the Mali's goalkeeper, to extend their miserable campaign of the bi-annual U-20 tournament after appearing in the finals for three consecutive times and losing all to Nigeria in 2015 as hosts, to Zambia in 2017 and now to Mali in Niger Republic.
The tournament's leading goalscorer went to Senegalese's Amadou Ndiaye, while the player of the tournament was awarded to Moussa Ndiaye and the Fair Play Award went to Senegal.However, Mali, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria are the four Africa's representatives in the U-20 World Cup holding in Poland between May 23 and June 15 this year.