Mali have become the second African team to qualify for the last-16 of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup after drawing 1-1 with Uruguay on Saturday morning, West African time.
Franco Acosta gave the South Americans the lead on 17 minutes and Adama Traore equalised for Mali just before the break, with his second goal of the tournament.
The result meant both teams finished tied on points and goals difference behind group winners Serbia, who beat Mexico 2-0 to claim a place in the knockout rounds.
In a subsequent drawing of lots in Auckland, Uruguay placed second, while Mali were third. It will be recalled that Mali also drew lots at this year’s African Cup when they were tied on points and goals with Guinea, only to lose.
Likely to go through
The Malians join Group B winners Ghana in the Round of 16, while Senegal have a chance of joining both if results in groups E or F go their way.
The Senegalese finished third in Group D with four points after defeating Qatar 2-1 earlier today. However their -2 goal difference is proving a hurdle to their progress to the knockout rounds.
They will however know their fate after Sunday’s games which would bring the group stage to a close.
The result also ensured that hosts New Zealand will progress to the round of 16 as the third-placed team in Group A.
Unbeaten Portugal march on
Meanwhile, Portugal strode confidently into the next round, beating Colombia 3-1 for their third-straight win in Group C.
Despite the loss, Colombia also progressed to the round of 16 with a win, a draw and a loss which was just good enough for second place in the group.
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Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
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