Abdoul Rachid Soumana Moussa of Niger challenged by Mohamed Camara of Mali during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Niger and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 18 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Thursday May 18, 2017. 22:22
Two goals from Hadji Drame and Mohamed Camara were enough for Mali to beat Niger 2-1 in the 2017 U17 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Group B match at Stade de L'amitie on Thursday.
Following the win, Mali now top the group with four points from two matches and will hope to win their third group match to reach the semi-finals.
As both sides went into the encounter fresh from draws in their opening matches, it was the Young Eagles who showed hunger.
The Malians took the game to Niger as early as the sixth minute as Drame broke the deadlock when he finished a brilliant pass in the penalty area.
In the 28th minute, Fode Konate committed a foul in right in the penalty, but referee, Jean-Jacques Ngambo, waved play on.
The Menas Cadets Niger equalised in the 35th minute when Habibou Sofiane netted a stunning free kick to beat goalkeeper, Koita on his left top corner making it 1-1.
However, Mali bounced back to claim the lead as the skipper, Mohamed Camara beat the Niger defence in the 45th minute and chipped the onrushing keeper, Ibrahim Lawal.
Jonas Komla's men went to the tunnel leading 2-1.
Immediately after their return from the tunnel, Camara failed to complete his brace from a perfect position in the box from a clever move in the midfield.
The last 10 minutes saw Mali dominating the proceedings, but Niger were stubborn at the back despite their failure to communicate in some instances.
In the wake of the loss, Ismaila Tiemoko's charges sees them moving to the third spot with one point after their draw against Angola in the first match on Monday.
Niger: (1) 1 (Sofiane 35')
Mali: (2) 2 (Drame 6', Camara 45')
Niger: Ibrahim, Massamba, Sofiane, Souley, Karim, Mossi, Darenkoum, Moussa, Marou (Sani 27'), Namata (Sidibe 47'), Ajoina
Mali: Koita, D. Traore (Ndiaye 79'), Konate, Fofana, M. Camara, Drame (M. Traore 66'), S. Camara, Jiddou (S. Keita 75'), Diaby, Samake, Kane