New Delhi: Paraguay cared little about reputation when they beat Mali 3-2 in a FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 encounter in Navi Mumbai on Friday. With the win, Paraguay made sure that they topped Group B, bagging three points against their name. This after New Zealand and Turkey played out a 1-1 draw at the same venue – DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai, where Paraguay got cracking in the tournament.
While Paraguay have never gone deep into this tournament in the past, it can be called an upset considering Mali’s relative better pedigree, having also been runners-up once before.
After the two sides were tied 2-2 at half time, it was in the 55th minute when Alan Rodriguez successfully converted from the spot to score the winner for Paraguay. Rodriguez fired past Mali goalkeeper with a powerful spot kick after Paraguay were awarded a penalty courtesy Abdoulaye Diaby’s handball. Mali had their chances, but on most occasions, their players shot above the bar from long distances. Earlier, Paraguay took the lead in the 12th minute courtesy a stunning strike by Antonio Galeano.
Paraguay were rewarded for their aggressive style of play from the start. Five minutes later, a defensive mistake by Mali helped Paraguay scored their second goal and take a 2-0 lead through Leonardo Sanchez’s strike. (With PTI inputs)