MUMBAI: An elated Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo has said that his team's performance improved in the second half, especially after scoring the third goal which steered them to 3-2 win over Mali in the FIFA U-17 Group stage game.
"The team actually improved after the third goal, and we felt that the team was balanced after that goal. We knew Mali is a strong team, they are very fast and physically strong. In the second half, we were able to close the lines and are happy that we were able to overcome them," Morinigo told reporters at the post match media conference.
"We were playing open and that's where Mali found opportunity to score these goals. Our goalkeeper had a good performance," he added.
Paraguay beat Mali 3-2 in an enthralling Group B match last night at the D Y Patil Stadium here.
Mali, who were trailing 0-2, came back strongly to make it 2-2 at the end of the first half, but a successful penalty strike in the 55th minute sealed the game for Paraguay.
"We beat the champions of Africa and that is important for us. Also because this is the first game for young players in the World Cup. Additionally we got the support of local people and that helped us to win the game," he said.
He heaped praise on Leonardo Sanchez, who scored the second goal for the team, terming him as a strong player.
"Leonardo is a very strong player and he has shown his level in the South American games. But overall all the players made good performance tonight.
"The group is a competitive group. Turkey and New Zealand have shown their level. We are excited about the first win and being on top of the group and now want to focus on the next game," Morinigo said.
Mali coach Jonas Komla said that the side has taken lessons and will correct them in their next encounter.
"If we talk about the match, we were not so good, but after all a match is a match. Two more matches are going to come and we are going to play very seriously for those matches," he said.
"It was not fatigue but what we have learnt is that the players were overenthusiastic to finish off the game as early as possible. We will correct it so that the next match goes well. It (the result) has nothing to do with this climate. The climate what we have in Bamago is the same but we made some errors, we don't have to repeat them," he insisted.
The coach said that his players were mentally strong and that was definitely positive.
"I am positive that mentally these players are strong with the way they played. What did not work, we have kept it in the mind. And will now play (taking into consideration those things) against Turkey," he added.
Mali will play Turkey, while Paraguay will lock horns with New Zealand on October 9.