Abel Ruiz

FIFA U17 World Cup: Spain thrash Mali 3-1 to face England in a mouth watering final encounter

[caption id="attachment_57009" align="aligncenter" width="580"]22853042_1447775211984242_9040651103311992617_n Spain thrashed Mali 3-1 to reach the final of the FIFA U17 World Cup. Image Source: FIFA[/caption]

Internet Desk: European winners Spain showed why they are the hot favourites to win the FIFA U17 World Cup on Wednesday as they beat Mali 3-1 with an ease at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai to set up a mouth watering final clash against England. Bothe the European giants will lock horns against each other at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on October 28.

Abel Ruiz scored a brace in the first-half for Spain to give them an early edge in the match. Ferran Torres scored the third and final goal for his side to seal the match against Mali. Lassana N'Diaye was the lone scorer of Mali as the match ended on 3-1.

By virtue of this win, Spain has entered the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the fourth time and their first appearance in the title clash 2007.

Mali also had an attempt that appeared like a legitimate goal which was controversially not signalled in by the assistant referee, when they were trailing 0-2 before Spain scored their third goal to virtually shut off the contest although Mali fought hard till the end.

The victory by Spain after staving off a late fight-back by the African age group champions has, thus, piloted them into a summit clash against England at Kolkata on October 28.

England got the better of South American champions Brazil 3-1 in the first semi-final.

Spain were the dominant force in the entire first half as they took a handy two-goal lead with their sharp-shooter Abel Ruiz finding the net on both occasions, the first one from the penalty spot in the 19th minute and the second with an on- the-run effort in the 45th minute.

The opening goal of the match when Gelabert was brought down, as he moved into the box, by Mali defender Abdoulaye Diaby. Ruiz sent Koita the wrong way from the spot- kick to provide the European U-17 champions a 1-0 lead.

Mali fought back after falling into arrears as they made repeated raids on the rival area but some good defending by Spain and some wayward shot-making by the African champions denied them the equaliser.

Just when it seemed that Spain would go in with a 1-0 advantage at half time came a counter attack off which Gelabert put a through ball for Ruiz to run forward and find the right corner of the net with a neat placement past Koita.

Mali then were denied a goal in controversial fashion.

A 40-yard pile-driver by Doucoure flew past Spanish goalie Fernandez and hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced on the ground before coming back into play which was headed out. But the ball seemed to have bounced inside the goal before rebounding into play, with the assistant referee not signalling it in.

To rub more salt to the wounded of Mali came the third goal from Spain, once again following an attack from the wing as a high cross from the left by Gomez was headed in by an unmarked Ferran Torres.

After a short break for drinks, N'Diaye caught the Spain defence napping and moved well into the box after hoodwinking a couple of defenders before slotting in with an angular effort to make it 3-1 with 16 minutes left on the clock.

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