By Frederick Marfo
Two stoppage time goals in each half from Eric Ayiah and substitute – Richard Danso ensured the Black Starlets soldiers on to the quarterfinal stage of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India with 2-0 win over Niger at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday, October 18.
The not too exciting first half gathered momentum after the water break when the Black Starlets began to use their skill against the robust defence of their West African neighbours – Niger.
Niger had to count on the heroics of goalkeeper Khalid Lawali to deny Ibrahim Sulley [36th], and Najeeb Yakubu in the 40th minute.
The Black Starlets breakthrough finally came in the 45th minute through Eric Ayiah. The Ghana captain earned a penalty call having been sliced down untimely by Farouk Idrissa in the box. Ayiah stepped forward and converted the kick perfectly to give his side the lead before the break.
Ghana dominated the second half with 63% possession, but very little to show in terms of goals, putting out as many as 22 shots in vain in the process.
Farouk Idrissa gifted Ghana a second penalty opportunity in the 86th minute when he brought down the sleekly left footed Emmanuel Toku in the eighteen yard box, but goalkeeper Khalid Lawali managed to save Eric Ayiah’s effort.
Meanwhile, West Africa Football Academy [WAFA] forward – Richard Danso came off the bench to score his second goal on the road as he dunked in a thunderous shot from 22-yards away to sneak through the helpless gloves of goalkeeper Khalid Lawali.
The Black Starlets faces a horrendous task on Saturday as they come face-to-face with another west African opponent – Mali.
Ghana: Danlad Ibrahim, Edmund Arko-Mensah, Najeeb Yakubu, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Eric Ayiah, Ibrahim Sulley, Emmanuel Toku, Gabriel Leveh, Bismark Owusu, Gideon Mensah, Rashid Alhassan.
Niger: Khalid Lawali, Yacine Wa Massamba, Nasser Mahaman, Farouk Idrissa, Inousa Amadou, Habibou Sofiane, Kader Aboubacar, Rashid Soumana, Ibrahim Boubacar, Ibrahim Namada, Salim Abdourahmane.
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