FIFA U17 World Cup: Brazil 2-0 Mali, top 5 players
Football being football some matches are like the ones we witnessed during the third place play-off between Mali and Brazil. Though Brazil had 53% possession it was Mali who did all the leg-work attempting total 27 shots as opposed to 8 from Brazil. They also forced 14 corners while Brazil could only manage 2 on that count. Sadly those 10 shots on goal for Mali could not bring in any desired result basically due to poor finishing.
They could enter into the defensive third at will, rising rapidly through both the flanks either by short, fast passes or long ball play but once there, all of their efforts went nought due to the lack of proper planning to make those opportunities count. Till the end the first half from about 15 minutes into it, Brazil was seen defending – an unbelievable sight to behold.
It was only after the break when Brazil got a ridiculous goal – the silliest one in this competition so far which can easily be featured in bloopers' reels - the things turned a bit for them, but only just. It was a really a mundane affair, though not at all to be expected from teams vying for a third place.
Here below are the top 5 players of this match.
Salam Jiddou | Mali | Midfielder
He was easily the best player on the pitch today. Wearing only ‘Salam’ on his back his creative abilities were all too clear. He had the knack of getting himself into the shooting position, which he did in the 39th minute. Taking advantage of the shoddy Brazilian effort at defending, Jiddou slammed in a freebie which only Brazilian keeper, Gabriel Brazao can say how he saved it.
His second killer moment came 20 minutes later. Though the angle was tight, Jiddou managed to keep it within the woodwork. Again Brazao stretched himself to come to his team’s help.
Mohamed Camara | Mali | Midfielder
This Mali No. 6 hailing from AS Real Bamako fits well into his leadership position. He came back to the team and made his presence felt. The Mali captain started off by drawing a free-kick as early as the 4th minute and attempted an ambitious effort in the 11th minute from 30 yards, only to shoot it wide.
10 minutes later he coaxed out a corner from Brazao. He followed it up with two good strikes in the 26th and 69th minutes – but on both occasions, the ball went inches wide.
Gabriel Brazao | Brazil | Goalkeeper
He had to come in with Mali managing to keep a few within the framework. Initially shaky, he was not collecting well but slowly he had to raise his game. It might be noted that he did maintain his position against the Malian onslaught; else he would have let a few in for sure. His two notable saves were in the 39th and 66th minutes. The former was a Jiddou hit previously mentioned while the later was a brilliant save that managed to stave off a header.
Hadji Drame | Mali | Right Wing
His two hot crosses could have borne fruit if he were to find his mates in line to accept them. Sadly, that was not the case. The more scathing of the two was the 30th minute through ball that N'Diaye just had to tap it in. He who began his day by earning a free-kick only in the second minute was replaced by Toure in the 76th minute.
Marcos Antonio | Brazil | Midfielder
As it was said it was truly an insipid match. For Antonio’s favour, who is really a good player, it can be said that he at least tried to keep the team ticking and tried to contribute with some good passes.