By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal media
Mali will play Senegal in Sunday’s final of the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger, in a repeat of the opening Group B encounter.
Mali needed penalties to beat Nigeria after a 1-1 draw to book their place in the final, while Senegal beat South Africa 1-0 in the other semi-final.
Senegal’s coach Youssouph Dabo says the final will not be a repeat of the group encounter which his side won 2-0.
“Facing Mali be a different match because it is a final,” he insisted.
“We beat them in the first game but I said it after that game that they can go far, so I am not surprised to see them in the final,” he added.
South Africa defeated Nigeia 5-3 on penalties, after they both fired blank during regulation and extra time to claim the third prize.
A new champion will be crowned in Niamey with Senegal being the more experienced in the showpiece match as they will be playing their third final in a row.
Since the tournament started in 1991 as a championship hosted in a single destination, Mali had not been in the final. In 1989, which marked the last edition of the old version specifically organised for FIFA U20 World Cup qualification, Mali lost in the final round to Nigeria 1-4 aggregate.
Both teams have been impressive in Niger 2019, Senegal particularly winning all their matches (four in all).