Tuesday Mar 10, 2015. 00:14
Alassane Diallo's second-half strike secured a 1-0 win for Mali over Zambia in a 2015 CAF African U-20 Championship encounter at the Caroline Faye Stadium in M'Bour, Senegal on Monday evening.
Zambia were the the better side in the opening half, but Mali came out a different outfit after the break to move into second place in Group B.
It would be Hector Chilombo's men to create the first chance with Patrick Ngoma heading Charles Zulu's cross over the crossbar with 15 minutes on the clock.
Zambia were dealt a blow seven minutes later with captain Lubambo Musonda forced off the field due to injury, in come 16-year-old Patson Daka.
Junior Chipolopolo continued to dominate with a succession of corner-kicks around the half-hour mark.
Mali though looked dangerous on the counter and almost found the opener following a defensive mistake. A missed placed pass by Alex Mwamba fell to Saliou Guindo, but goalkeeper Mangani Banda was quick off his line to bail-out his teammate with a superb sliding challenge in the 36th minute.
Guindo continued to look menacing for the West Africans with the lanky forward putting his strike just wide of Banda's goal on the stroke of half-time.
The Eaglets started the second stanza the brighter of the two teams with the Zambian defence under the gun in the 20 minutes that followed the interval.
Zambia almost grabbed the opener against the run of play through Spencer Sautu in the 68th minute. The midfielder's volley attempt clipping the crossbar with Sory Traore well beaten.
The Southern African's defence was finally breached in the 75th minute. A well worked free-kick resulting in a goal for Diallo who's thunderous left-footed effort left Banda with no chance.
Next up for the Eaglets is a game against South Africa on Thursday while Junior Chipolopolo will meet Ghana who beat Amajita 2-0 in their opening Group B encounter.
Mali 1 (Diallo 75')
Mali: Traore; S.Diarra, Kone, I.Diarra, Maiga, Guilavogui, Guindo (S.,Sissoko 76') Toure, Doumbia, Diallo, Sacko
Zambia: Banda; Mulenga, Chepeshi, Mwamba, Kayawe, Sakala, Bwalya, Sautu, Zulu (D.Daka 79'), Ngoma, Musonda (P.Daka 22')