Nine-man Mexico falls to Mali at U-20 World Cup

Action from the FIFA U-20 World Cup match between Mali and Mexico (black jersey) at Otago Stadium on May 31, 2015 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

DUNEDIN, New Zealand – Two years after dropping a 4-1 decision to Mexico in the same tournament, Mali gained a measure of sporting revenge on Saturday, defeating the CONCACAF champion 2-0 on Sunday at Forsyth Barr Stadium. 

The Group D match, which produced few solid scoring chances and no goals before the break, was decided in the second half after the dismissal of three players, two from Mexico and one from Mali. 

Hamidou Maiga’s ejection in the 56th minute reduced the Africans to 10, but inside 10 minutes Mexico was down to nine after Diego Gama and Oscar Bernal were sent to the showers. 

Mali capitalized on its manpower advantage, netting two goals within minutes of each other. 

In the 77th minute, Youssouf Kone beautifully curled a left-sided free-kick into the six-yard box that Adama Traore nodded past goalkeeper Raul Gudiño for a 1-0 lead. 

Two minutes later, Dieudonne Gbakle completed a neat give-and-go with Alassane Diallo by weaving past the Mexican defense and slotting inside the right post with his left foot from seven yards. 

Mexico will look to bounce back on Wednesday against Uruguay, which beat Serbia 1-0, also on Sunday.