06.06.2015 09:32 h

Portugal qualify unbeaten, draw helps Mali and Uruguay

Mali and Uruguay battled to a draw Saturday to ensure both joined Portugal, Serbia and Colombia in the final 16 of the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand.

As Groups C and D wrapped up pool play, Mali and Uruguay drew 1-1 to finish second equal in Group D with identical points and goal tallies for both to qualify.

After a drawing of lots to separate the two, Uruguay were awarded second place with Mali going through as one of the best third-placed teams.

Uruguay scored through a delicate first half goal by Franco Acosta who, with his back to the net, deflected the ball past the goalkeeper.

Mali levelled just before the break with an Adama Traore free-kick that found the bottom corner of the net and set up an uneventful second half with both sides playing not to lose rather than to win.

All four sides in Group D had started the final pool round locked on three points with Serbia coming through with a 2-0 win over Mexico to earn top spot and send the Central Americans home.

Nemanja Maksimovic put the Europeans 1-0 ahead in the second minute and Andrija Zivkovic added a stunning free-kick just before half-time.

Colombia, who lost to Portugal 3-1 in Group C, sneaked into the last 16 on goal difference ahead of Senegal who have a nerve-wracking wait to see if they too will be among the best third-placed teams.

Portugal finished comprehensive winners of the group, scoring 10 goals and conceding only the one to Colombia.

Nuno Santos gave Portugal the lead in the third minute with a superb free-kick that curled around the wall and crashed high into the Colombian net.

Andre Silva put Portugal 3-0 up with two second half goals. The first from a penalty and he headed home a Santos cross for the second.

With Colombia's future participation hanging by a thread, Santos Barrera found the net with a crucial 74th minute goal that gave them second place in their pool with four points and a -1 differential.

Senegal, also finished with four points but their 2-1 win over Qatar meant they finished third with a -2 goal difference and an anxious wait until the end of pool play on Sunday to see if they will make the Round of 16.

Senegal's poor goal difference confirmed hosts New Zealand will make the knockout phase from Group A as one of the best third-placed sides.

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