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Golden Eaglets Thrash Mali to Retain U-17 World Title

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The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria defeated fellow African rivals Mali 2-0 at the Estadio Sausalito to retain the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Second half goals from Victor Osimhen and Funsho Bamgboye were all the Eaglets needed to become world champions for a record fifth time and become the second country in history to successfully defend their title after Brazil.

The Nigerians dominated the early stages of the game and were awarded a penalty after a handball in the area.

Osinachi Ebere stepped up but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Samuel Diarra, before heading the rebound against the crossbar bar which was finally cleared by the Malian defence.

The Malians grew into the game, as both sides created chances; Boubacar Traore saw his glancing header tipped over by Udoh and Eaglets skipper, Kelechi Nwakali hitting his effort just wide.

Nigeria once again dominated the opening stages of the second half, with Emmanuel Amuneke’s yougsters clearly working their magic on, bursting the game into life.

Osimhen’s brilliantly taken half volley, was spectacularly saved by Diarra, before Udochukwu Anumudu’s thunderous effort rebounded off the woodwork and was cleared away.

The defending champions broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when substitute Chinedu Madueke teed up Osimhen for his record-breaking tenth goal of the World Cup, which saw him surpass the 9 goals scored by Florent Sinama Pongolle in 2001 and Souleymane Coulibaly in 2011.

Bamgboye made it 2-0 few minutes later, with a powerful effort at goal after bursting down the left flank, giving Diarra no chance.

Despite a couple of late chances by the Malians, Nigeria retained possession for large spells and saw the game out to retain their crown and ensured that Mali’s dream of lifting a first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup faded in thin air.