For the second time in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, it will be an all-African affair as Nigeria and Mali battle for the top prize in Chile.
When a similar scenario played out 22 years ago in Japan, it was the Golden Eaglets team then captained by Wilson Oruma that finished victorious; beating Ghana to the trophy.
Though the pedigree of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets speaks volume having won the tournament a record four times, the unpredictability of Mali who are the current champions of Africa suggests that a thrilling climax is on the cards at this year’s final.
Only Brazil, who won the 1997 and 1999 editions have successfully defended the U-17 title.
The current Golden Eaglets team, with over 150 million Nigerians behind them, are keen to achieve the Brazil feat.
Will they be able to do that as they file out by 11 p.m. Nigerian time to face West African foes, Mali?
Stay with us for live updates from Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar, Chile.
Nigeria survives an own goal after a defender nods a ball into our side net. Corner kick to Mali. taken and cleared by the Nigerian defenders.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooAL!!! Bamgboye puts Nigeria 2 goals ahead. Nigeria 2-0 Mali. Irt was a roof top goal, leaving the Malian goalkeeper no chance to save the goal.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!!! Oshimen!!! Victor Oshimen breaks record. Scores 10th goal of the tournament.
Lazarus, a Nigerian defender attempts a strike. He shoots wide, just a little over the bar. Nigerian leading in goal attempts this half. Osimhen talkes another shot but it was parried by the Malian goalkeeper. Shortly after, Nigeria hit the bar again. Oshimen took a thunderous shot but parried away by Mali keeper who saves another attempt from Anumudu. Nigeria seems to be out for a goal.
Another corner kick to Nigeria. It is punched out by the Malian goalkeeper.
Second half started already. Nigeria playing from the left side of the pitch. Nigeria gains the first corner kick of the half but it is cleared by the Malian defenders.
Half time. 0-0 Pretty even contest so far. Ebere, the Nigerian penalty taker is not the usual spot kick guy for Nigeria. Why did Nwakali or Osimhen not take the penalty kick? It was a missed chance but the team has got to move on and win the match.
Half time statistics
7 ATTEMPTS 7
2 ON-TARGET 2
3 OFF-TARGET 2
2 BLOCKED 3
7 FOULS COMMITTED 12
0 YELLOW CARDS 1
0 RED CARDS 0
3 CORNERS 3
1 OFFSIDES 0
12 FREE KICKS 8
2 SAVES 2
A trip down memory lane. This is the eighth time Nigeria is making it to the finals of the FIFA U17 world cup. Nigeria lost in the finals each time their opponents scored ahead of them. Let’s see how things pan out tonight.
The Malian side is fully back in the game and threatening dominance. Nigerian passes are regularly intercepted. Nigeria now putting up great defending to keep the goal line 0-0. David Enogela of Nigeria gets first yellow card of the game
Mali is actually making a return to the FIFA U17,world cup after 14,years absence.. It is safe to say they came back with a bang. Going all the way to the final.
Nigeria just lost another chance to go ahead after a shot from Nigeria’s Bamgboye was deflected by a Malian defender, resulting in Nigeria’s first corner kick in the match. The corner kick is taken and cleared by the Malian side.
So far Mali has committed 6 fouls while Nigeria committed 10.
Mali seems to have got themselves back in the game. Now with their second penalty. A fantastic save from the Nigerian goalkeeper Udoh, off the a header from Traore, forced the ball into a third cornerkick for Mali. The third corner is cleared by the Nigerian defence.
The Malian side is gradually getting back into the game. It is really an exciting game. In the last one minute, the Nigerian side has lost another clear chance to go in the lead after a strike from a Nigerian winger was cleared by the Malian defence.
Nigerian fans now chanting “All we are saying, give us one goal”
Mali side is quite physical. There are six 16-year old in the starting line up for Nigeria. Which makes them the youngest team here in Chile.
But Mali has got the first cornerkick in the match. Spectacular keeping by the Nigerian goalkeeper ensures the goal line remains 0-0.
Nigeria still mounting serious pressure on the Malian side. Nigeria is dressed in green, while Mali is dressed in white. A free kick to Mali just outside the Nigerian 18 yard box. Freekick s taken, but goes off the goal post. Nice follow by the Nigerian keeper.
Free kick to Nigeria after Bamboye is brought down in the Nigerian side. It is a real tussle. Amuneke is on the sidelines, dishing out instructions but arms folded on his chest most of the time.
Still curious on why Nwakali or Osimhen did not take the penalty kick. Pressure on Nigeria defence as Mali make incursions from the left wing.
Nigeria seems to be dominating so far. An early goal from the penalty would have shot Nigeria miles ahead of the Malian side. But Nigeria looks good so far.
While Nigeria is the world champion, Mali is the African champion.
What a miss! Early into the match, Nigeria misses a penalty kick after a Malian player handled the ball in the 18 yard box.
Starting Line ups
1 UDOH (GK)
10 NWAKALI (C)
1 SAMUEL (GK)
2 DANTE (C)
18 HAIDARA A.
ON THIS DAY in 2013: The Golden Eaglets beat Mexico 3-0 to win the FIFA U-17 WC for the 4th time. Will they make it a 5th title tonight? We are barely an hour to kick off.
Belgium end on a high as they head home with the bronze medal after defeating Mexico 3-2 in the third place match. Mali beat Belgium 3-1 in the semi finals.
Here are the match officials for the Nigeria vs Mali final.
Center referee Michael OLIVER (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1:Stuart BURT (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2:Gary BESWICK (ENG)
Fourth official: Ricardo MONTERO (CRC)
Although the major attraction tonight is the Nigeria Vs Mali final, let’s keep you up to speed with happenings in the third place match between Mexico and Belgium. Its already 60 mins into that game and Belgium is leading 1-0. VAN VAERENBERGH’s 54th minute strike is the difference between both sides at the moment.