Mumbai: Barcelona junior team forward Abel Ruiz scored a brace to set up an all-European final with England in the Fifa U-17 World Cup with 3-1 win over Mali. Ruiz scored from the spot and a couple of minutes before the break while Ferran Torres strengthened their hold in the second half at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Wednesday night. Mali striker Lassana Ndiaye pulled one back to finish with six goals in the tournament. Ruiz also has six goals as England’s Rhian Brewster tops the list with seven goals.
The Eagles were without their captain Mohamed Camara — suspended for the semi-final — but gave a good account of themselves. Spain, however, were too strong on the break. A couple of controversial referee decisions didn’t help the Eagles’ cause.
Mali showed initial nerves and Spain skipper Ruiz showed his class from the right before sending a cross into the box and Sergio Gomez’s powerful left-footer on the volley was kept out by Mali goalkeeper Youssouf Koita.
On the counter, Mali’s prolific goalscorer Ndiaye found the side netting. The Jonas Komla boys’ began to find their touch but Mali were undone by a tough decision when Abdoulaye Diaby came in slight contact with Gelabert inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot despite strong protest from Koita. Ruiz converted the penalty in the 19th minute with ease. Diaby had conceded the penalty against Paraguay as well here in the first league game.
Spain scored yet again in the 71st minute courtesy Torres after he headed in perfectly into the near corner off an aerial cross from Gomez from the left. Despite trailing 0-3 Mali didn’t give up and Ndiaye gave them hope with a clever strike past Fernandez to reduce the deficit in the 74th minute....