Burkina Faso held off a late charge from Mali to secure a 2-1 victory and third place at the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations Algeria 2023 on Thursday night in Annaba, Algeria.
According to Nigeria Observer, there was only delight to play for on Thursday with both teams already having obtained tickets to the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year.
The Burkinabe enjoyed sweet revenge against the Malians having lost by a solitary goal when they met in the group stages.
Ousmane Camara’s first-half penalty and Appolinaire Bougma’s strike after the break ensured Burkina Faso return home with a medal on their necks. Mamadou Doumbia scored Mali’s consolation in the second half, his fourth of the tournament, but it did little to spur a possible comeback, Cafonline.com reports.
While Burkina Faso went in with their full-strength squad, Mali fielded a hugely changed team as coach Soumaila Coulibaly sought to give all players an opportunity to have a taste of continental football.
Burkina Faso had the first chance at goal with Camara having a curling effort fly inches wide in the 11th minute. In the 19th minute, Mali came close but defender Nouhoun Bamba made a goalline clearance to deny Salif Noah Leintu’s effort.
After a balanced start, it was Burkina Faso who would break the deadlock with Camara slotting a 25th-minute penalty after Bougma was appended in the area. This was the first time that the Malians were conceding at the tournament.
They tried to level terms before the break with Doumbia having two chances, first a shot from a distance that dragged just wide while two minutes to the break, he had a header pushed against the crossbar by the keeper.
Burkina Faso needed just two minutes after the break to double their tally, Bougma finishing off a cross from the right by Camara.
Stunned and with a two-goal deficit, Mali made changes with Angel Tia and Mahamoud Barry who had been rested coming on. They halved the deficit in the 58th minute, thanks to some improved attack, with Doumbia netting his fourth of the tournament.
The goal pumped in some belief in the Malian side, but despite their efforts, Burkina Faso held on for the win and a precious bronze medal to wipe their tears after failing to make the final.