France makes its way to the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023 after beating Mali 2-1 at the Manahan Stadium in Surakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday.
France will face Germany in the final on December 2, Saturday. Earlier in the day Germany defeated Argentina in a penalty shootout after the match ended 3-3 in regulation time.
Mali went ahead at the end of the relegation time of the first half, thanks to midfielder Ibrahim Diarra.
France emerged from the halftime break with renewed vigour, determined to overturn the deficit. It launched a series of attacks, putting relentless pressure on the Malian defence.
In one such attack, French left-back Aymen Sadi was brought down dangerously by Mali’s defender Souleymane Sanogo. The referee, who initially only awarded a foul, was alerted by VAR and, upon reviewing the footage, he reversed his initial decision and sent off the Malian defender in the 54th minute.
France clawed its way back into the match in the 56th minute when defender Yvann Titi capitalised on an awarded free-kick with a powerful header from close range. Emboldened by its numerical advantage, France relentlessly pressed for the lead, and its efforts were rewarded in the 69th minute when midfielder Ismail Bouneb curled a stunning low free-kick from the left edge of the box directly into the bottom corner of the net.
The match continued to flare up as both teams played a physical game since the red card incident and the referee had to show a couple of yellow cards to keep the players in check.
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