Mali have advanced into the second round of the U-17 World Cup after they defeated New Zealand 3-1 at Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
The result saw the Eaglets finish in second place in Group B on six points, three adrift of leaders Paraguay, who easily defeated Turkey in the other pool match.
Mali dominated from early on and made their pressure pay in the 18th minute when Salam Giddou scored with a magnificent long-range shot into the top corner of the net, giving New Zealand goalkeeper Zac Jones no chance whatsoever.
It was almost 2-0 to the West Africans late in the half when Lassana N’Diaye struck the goalkeeper’s left-hand post with well-struck effort.
The Eaglets needed just five minutes of the second half to double their advantage, with Djemoussa Traore scoring from a fine curling shot that beat Jones’ left hand before nestling in the back of the net.
New Zealand pulled a goal back through substitute Charles Spragg in the 72nd minute, but Mali eased an fears of a comeback when striker N’Diaye scored for the third march in succession to make it 3-1 in the 82nd minute.
Mali, as second-place finishers in Group B, will face the runners-up in Group F - one of England, Iraq, Mexico or Chile - in their last 16 clash in Margao on October 17.
Mali (1) 3 (S. Giddou 18’, D. Traore 50’, L. N’Diaye 82’)
New Zealand (0) 1 (Spragg 72’)
Mali: Y. Koita, F. Konate (S. Sidibe 84’), M. Fofana, B. Haidara, I. Kane, H. Drame (M. Traore 68’), M. Samake, M. Camara (C.O. Doucoure 58’), S. Giddou, D. Traore, L. N’Diaye