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AFCON U-17: Mali win Group C courtesy of Barry’s late winner against Cameroon

Photo Credit: @CAF_Online

Mali handed Cameroon a defeat on their debut match at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations with Thursday’s 2-0 victory, moving Les Aiglonnets through to the quarterfinals as Group C winners. Mahamoud Barry finished deep into the second half before Mamadou Doumbia provided a beautiful strike in the final seconds to leave Mali with four points from their two matches in the three-team group. Cameroon will now face Burkina Faso on Sunday in the final match of Group C with the winner securing the runner-up position while a draw will see Burkina Faso finish in second.

Cameroon were making a late debut at the competition due to South Sudan’s disqualification and Les Lionceaux were slow to find their rhythm. The first half featured few opportunities until with Cameroon having a penalty kick appeal denied in the 23rd minute after Mali goalkeeper Bourama Koné appeared to miss the ball while taking down Cameroon forward Dorinel Yondjo Matah. It was a frustrating match for Yondjo Matah who had several chances but struggled with his finishing.

Poor finishing was the story of the match but after the teams wrestled for control throughout most of the second half Les Aiglonnets provided a couple of moments of quality to snatch the three points. In the 86th minute, Mali midfielder Ibrahim Diarra received a pass on the right wing and quickly played a first touch pass that split the Cameroonian defense over and sent Barry in on goal for a well placed shot past keeper Junior Lopez.

In the final moments of second half stoppage time it was Doumbia who scored his second goal of the competition in style when the AS Black Stars player collected a pass at the corner of the penalty area and cut inside to curl a delightful shot with his left foot past Lopez. Doumbia’s goal could be crucial in Cameroon’s battle for second place because it gives the edge to Burkina Faso if the two teams draw in their clash on Sunday.

Highlights from Thursday’s only match at the U-17 AFCON are below.

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