The Mali and Morocco U-17 national teams suffered their first defeats at the 2023 U-17 FIFA World Cup after both losing 1-0 and 2-0 to Spain and Ecuador in Group A and B respectively on Monday.
Both sides were victorious in their group openers as the Moroccans saw off Panama 2-0 while the Malians thumped Uzbekistan 3-0.
There was however none of that in round two of the group stage fixtures as Michael Bermudez’s 62nd minute penalty gave Ecuador the lead at the Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya. Bermudez went on to add his second in the third minute of nine additional minutes.
The victory sees the South Americans move above the Moroccans to the top of the table by one point.
The African side played for more than half of the game with a numerical disadvantage after Mamadou Doumbia – hat-trick hero in their opening-game win over Uzbekistan – was sent off.
Ange Martial Tia thought he had given Mali the lead when he slotted home on the half-hour mark – the goal was chalked off, however, following a VAR review for a foul in the build-up by Sekou Kone.
The African side had looked the more likely to score, even before the disallowed goal, but the game took a significant turn on 40 minutes when Doumbia was red carded for a challenge on Pau Prim.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Mali continued to regularly advance into dangerous positions in the early stages of the second half – but Spain hit the front with a moment of real quality.