Mali 2-2 Argentina (5-4 pen)
Mali came from behind twice to claim the final quarter-final spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 on Tuesday night, dispatching Argentina 5-4 on penalties after the score was tied 2-2 at the end of extra time.
Sambou Sissoko struck the winning penalty for Mali while Youssouf Koita’s save from Tomas Chancalay’s spot-kick attempt was the difference in the shoot-out.
After a goalless first half, Adolfo Gaich capitalised on an errant clearance by Clement Kanoute in the penalty area to open the scoring in the 49th minute.
Mali equalised after 67 minutes when Abdoulaye Diaby out-jumped his marker to head home a corner at the far post.
The scores were level at 1-1 at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, but Ezequiel Barco influenced the go-ahead goal for Argentina less than 30 seconds into the first period of extra time. Francisco Ortega picked him out in space and Barco’s powerful first-time shot from 12 yards deflected off Diaby and into the net.
But Mali caught Argentina sleeping at a set-piece right at the end to force a shoot-out. Sekou Koita rolled the ball forward to Boubacar Konte, who aimed low toward the far post to beat Manuel Roffo.
The Eagles scored all five of their penalties to knock the six-time U-20 World Cup champions out of the tournament and Mali’s players ran around the Bielsko-Biala Stadium in celebration after the winning penalty kick.
Friday 7 June
Italy v Mali (Tychy, 18:30 local time)
*USA 3-2 France*
USA defeated France 3-2 in a thrilling, back-and-forth encounter in baking Bydgoszcz to advance to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 quarter-finals.
The Stars and Stripes opened the scoring when Richard Ledezma found space to run at France’s backline before unleashing Sebastian Soto with a well-timed through pass. The Hannover forward took a touch before curling a shot past Alban Lafont into the bottom corner.
There was then a cooling break right after Soto’s goal, which may have worked to France’s advantage, as the Stars and Stripes were beginning to heat up.
France threatened USA goalkeeper Brady Scott’s goal in the 37th minute when Michael Cuisance struck the post. However, they went one better four minutes later, almost replicating USA’s opening goal. Moussa Diaby dribbled at USA’s backline before timing a through ball for Amine Gouiri, who did well to stay onside and score past Scott.
Diaby was a constant threat down France’s right wing for most of the second half and that’s where France’s second originated from. The Paris Saint-Germain man poked a shot past Scott that hit the post and Nabil Alioui put in the second chance from close range.
USA replied with an equaliser in the 74th minute when Tim Weah threaded through an intricate short pass at the top of the penalty area with the outside of his boot for Soto, and the forward showed his instinct in front of goal, scoring past Lafont for his second of the evening.
Just under ten minutes later USA substitute Justin Rennicks, who had previously played a total of nine minutes at Poland 2019, scored the winning goal, reacting the quickest after Lafont spilled a searing shot from Sergino Dest.
Saturday 8 June
USA v Ecuador (Gdynia, 17:30 local time)
*South Korea 1-0 Japan*
In a match characterised by close calls, Korea Republic’s Oh Sehun seized on a late opportunity to defeat Japan 1-0 and move his side into the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.
In the 84th minute, substitute Kim Jusung won possession for Korea Republic on the edge of the penalty area before chipping toward the far post, where Sehun was waiting to nod the ball into the back of the net.
Japan looked to have taken the lead in the 50th minute through Yuta Goke’s close-range volley, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) ruled that Taisei Miyashiro was offside in the build-up to the goal, and the score was wiped off the board.
The Samurai Blue had another big chance in the 78th minute, but Miyashiro’s low effort hit the inside of the far post and stayed out of the goal.
Saturday 8 June
Korea Republic v Senegal (Bielsko-Biala, 20:30 local time)
*By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde*