Sadiq Ibrahim’s first half goal handed the two-time FIFA U17 World Champions the win over Colombia in the early kick-off in New Delhi on Friday.
Ghana came out the winners in the Group A opener of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday, as Sadiq Ibrahim’s first half strike proved enough for them to beat Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
The Black Starlets shaded a mostly evenly fought first half when captain and main-man Eric Ayiah set-up Sadiq Ibrahim in the 39th with a pin-point cross. Up to that point both sides had enjoyed a number of chances to pull ahead with both keepers kept busy.
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It was a fractious contest littered with fouls as both attempted to assert themselves. But the West African side appeared to hold a slight edge, particularly thanks to the bright Ayiah. The attacker has been making waves in recently with his performances for Ghana. He’s already been linked with the likes of FC Porto, and it’s easy to see why.
Ayiah is quick and intelligent, and possesses the strength to power through in attacks, proving a handful for defences. Against Colombia, too, most of Ghana’s clearest chances came from moves involving him. And but for a little more decisiveness in his finishing, he could have put his side two or three ahead.
Even so, it was a fairly balanced contest, with the momentum swinging Colombia’s way in the latter stages. The South Americans should really have levelled the score in the 81st when substitute Caicedo was played through. But he failed to hit the target, and Ghana held on to walk away with all three points.
Late surge from Colombians fails to yield an equaliser with Ghana’s industry rewarded with a deserved win
The relatively oppressive conditions in New Delhi appeared to favour the Africans, really. Especially going by their almost constant waves of attack throughout the match. While both sides produced their share of chances, Ghana seemed to hold a keener edge.
Their first clear one came as early as the 15th, with Sadiq’s attempted cross finding its path goal-bound. But Mier was always favoured to save it, even if it might have taken him by surprise.
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For Colombia, Campaz presented the greatest threats up the left wing. One of his runs almost handed the Colombians the opener against the run of play, but Danlad was on hand for the save.
Sadiq had a goal ruled offside before eventually scoring in the 39th. And Iddriss had the chance to double their advantage in the 60th, only to sky his attempt.
Ayiah led his team on frequent counters throughout the second half. But they were either let down by some sloppy finishing or thwarted by the excellent Mier in Colombia goal.
In the end though, Sadiq’s goal was enough as the Colombians, relatively, looked a little short of ideas. They will need to raise their game – especially in attack – for their next against hosts India on Monday.
12. Kevin MIER (GK), 2. Andres CIFUENTES, 5. Thomas GUTIERREZ (C), 6. Andres PEREA, 7. Leandro CAMPAZ, 10. Brayan GOMEZ, 11. Juan PENALOZA, 13. Robert MEJIA, 14. Yadir MENESES, 18. Deyman CORTES, 20. Etilso MARTINEZ
Unused substitutes: 1. Nicolas GOMEZ, 3. Guillermo TEGUE, 4. Christian ANDRADE, 8. Luis LOPEZ, 9. Santiago BARRERO, 15. Gustavo CARVAJAL, 16. Fabian ANGEL, 17. Deiber CAICEDO, 19. Juan VIDAL, 21. Daniel MELO
Coach: Orlando RESTREPO
— Times of India (@timesofindia) October 6, 2017
1. Danlad IBRAHIM (GK), 5. Najeeb YAKUBU, 6. Eric AYIAH (C), 8. Kudus MOHAMMED, 10. Emmanuel TOKU, 11. Aminu MOHAMMED, 12. Abdul YUSIF, 15. Gideon MENSAH, 17. Rashid ALHASSAN, 18. Mohammed IDDRISS, 19. Sadiq IBRAHIM
Unused substitutes: 2. John OUT, 3. Gideon ACQUAH, 4. Edmund ARKO-MENSAH, 7. Ibrahim SULLEY, 9. Richard DANSO, 13. Gabriel LEVEH, 14. Bismark OWUSU, 16. Kwame AZIZ, 20. Isaac GYAMFI, 21. Michael ACQUAYE
Coach: Samuel FABIN
Ghana will play their next against the other Group A victors – the United States of America – on Monday the 9th at 17:00 hrs at the same venue. They might have their work cut out for them, seeing as the United States put three past hosts India. Samuel Fabin will be hoping for a tighter game from his boys.
Colombia on the other hand will be hoping for a much better showing against hosts India. The two play in the late kick-off at 20:00 hrs, also at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on the 9th.
Check out more details on both teams, the schedule and other things you need to know about the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on their official website here.