Mali U-17 coach gracious in defeat

Mali U-17 coach gracious in defeat
Coach of Mali u17, Jonas Komla

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 13:30

Mali coach Jonas Komla was gracious in defeat after watching his side beaten 3-1 by Spain in the U-17 World Cup semifinals on Wednesday.

The Young Eagles were outplayed by their Spanish counterparts in Navi Mumbai, though there was a controversial moment when their midfielder Cheick Doucoure had a legitimate goal missed by the match officials.

Doucoure’s long-range shot hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounded over the goal line - as confirmed by TV replays - and bounced back into play.

The match officials allowed play to continue and the absence of goal line technology cost the Africans a goal which could have changed the course of the match: Spain were 2-0 up at the time and soon went on to score a third goal to end the game as a contest.

However, Komla downplayed the incident and instead focused on the positives, praising his team for reaching the final four of a global tournament.

"I can't comment on the referee's decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” said Komla.

"In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that's football for you.

"We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can't be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

"It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Mali will face Brazil (who were beaten 3-1 by England in their semifinal) at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday for the third-place playoff.

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