Navi Mumbai: After narrowly losing their first game against Paraguay, Mali looked unstoppable as they crushed Turkey 3-0 in the third game of the Group B played at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Djemoussa Traore, Lasanna Ndiaye, and Fode Konatin, in their second game scored the goals for the African side who now are in contention to reach the knockout stage. The match was a one-way traffic as Mali dominated the possession and took 28 shots on goal out of which 11 shots ended up on target.
Mali dominated the proceeding right from the start. The first real chance came in the 4th minute when Mamadou Samake put a through ball to striker Ndiaye, but he failed to score as his left-footed shot went just past the goal.
Ndiaye once again missed a glorious opportunity to take the lead for his side in the 14th minute. Drame put a through ball to the striker with the only keeper to beat the striker once again went for the left side of the goal only to see his shot miss the target.
Turkey’s best chance came in the 16th minute when they came close to breaking the deadlock. Yunus Akgun right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved by keeper Youssouf Koita after been put through by Ismail Cokcalis.
With Mali dominating the possession, Turkey came close to scoring for the second time in the 26th minute, Babacan left footed shot was saved by Mali goalkeeper Koita assisted by Malik Karaahmet.
Kaarahmet came close to scoring in the very minute but his shot from right side of the box was saved by the keeper.
Mali once again came close in the 31st minute. Drame’s corner was met with the header by Diaby only to see his shot blocked by Turkish goalkeeper Berke Ozer who showed good reflexes near his goalpost.
After missing chances early in the game Mali finally managed to break the deadlock in the 38th minute. Hadji Drame’s through ball found Djemossa Traore whose left footed shot went to the bottom right corner.
The second half also continued to be one-way traffic as Mali continued to attack Turkey goal. Ndiaye who missed chances in the first half saw his left foot shot saved by Ozer in the 67th minute. The Turkey goalkeeper once again showed quick reflex to push the ball away with his left hand.
The African side scored their second goal in the 68th minute. Hadji Drame corner ball travelled to Fode Konate who flicked it to team-mate Abdoulaye Diaby in the center of the box. The center back took the shot from his right foot only to see it hit inside of left goal post, Ndiaye who was on the other side of the goal easily tapped the ball into the empty net to put Mali ahead by 2 goals.
Substitute Mamadou Traore who came in for Hadji Drame in the 77th minute came close to scoring Mali’s third goal. The substitute who has just entered in place of Drame was presented with a great chance after some poor defending b, but his leftTurkey defenders, but his left foot shot hit the left post of Turkish goal and went out.
Turkey tried to pull one goal back, but Mali defense proved to be a hurdle for the red and black brigade. Mali increased their lead in the 86th minute Konate finding the back of the net with a stunning goal from the left side of the box as the ball hits top right corner sealing the match for Mali.
Turkey coach Mehmet Haciouglu admitted that the physical difference between the two side mattered and led to his side losing 3-0 against Mali.
“Before the tournament my biggest afraid was this kind of physical differences and yes we can say that the physical differences affected our youth leagues, which started a little bit late than other countries and because of the physical difference I can say that the result was like that, " he said.
“The fact is very clear, we do not have enough physical and fitness capabilities and that affected the result and our biggest strength is technique but due to lack of physical capabilities and strength we also lost our technical strengths which affected the result," admitted Hacioglu
With this loss, Turkey’s chances of reaching the knockout stage has taken a hit and now their chances of staying in the tournament depends on the result of the match between Paraguay and New Zealand.
Speaking about his team's chances of progressing to the next round “We have possibility to qualify for the next round by being one of best third rank teams. But when we look at these physical strengths during the play, I can say that our duty will be very difficult.”
Jonas Komla, Mali’s coach, also commented on their win. “None of the team is easy to play. Losing the first game changed the boys, we believe that we will play all the matches like finals”, he said.
He also spoke about the tactical changes for the match. “We worked on two plans- offensive and defensive, we still need to work on a few things,” he concluded....