Mali hold Under-20 favourites Paraguay to a draw

Mali's Adama Niane
Mali's Adama Niane

Mali began their Under-20 World Cup campaign in Turkey with a 1-1 draw against the favourites Paraguay.

The Junior Eagles took an early lead in the Group D game in Gaziantep through Nantes striker Adama Niane who scored after just three minutes.

Paraguay were not behind for long, drawing level in the seventh minute thanks to a Jorge Rojas strike.

Greece are the surprise Group D leaders after the first round of matches following their 2-1 win over Mexico.

Paraguay - seen as real contenders to win the trophy - were left stunned by Mali's quick start to the match. After twice failing to clear a long ball which came out of their own defence, the South Americans could only watch as Niane pounced to give the Africans an early lead.

That lead only lasted for four minutes. Jorge Rojas brought Paraguay level, chesting the ball down from a cross, and then striking a shot into the bottom left hand corner to score.

Mali's Germain Berthe was the busier of the two keepers in the second half, as both sides struggled to break the deadlock.

Mali's next Group D opponents will be Mexico on Tuesday 25 June at the same venue.

Africa's three other representatives at the Under-20 World Cup are Nigeria, Ghana and continental champions Egypt.