Ghana beat Colombia in FIFA U17 World Cup opener

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The Black Starlets of Ghana picked up their first 3 points at the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup by beating Colombia 1-0 on Friday.

Ghana began with some excellent exchange of passes with some swift display on the flanks.

Colombia made an early attacking threat after Thomás Gutiérrez teasing cross was dealt by the Ghana defense.

Sadiq Ibrahim tried to catch Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier off his line with an ambitious effort in the 4th minute only for the ball to go wide.
Ghana still controlled the pace of the game pushing forward for the opener. The Black Stars looked to have settled into the game after just 10 minutes.

Colombia’s Robert Mejía got the first attempt at goal in the 11th minute when he tried a long range effort which went straight into the arms of Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.

Eric Ayiah’s deaf-touch went flying over the bar after a nice through ball from Mohammed Kudus in 13th minute. Ibrahim Sadiq teasing effort forced Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier to tip the ball over the bar.

Jaminton Campaz nearly got the opening goal for Colombia in the 14th minute when he outwitted Ghana defender Gideon Mensah before taking a wonderful strike which went wide, the Deportes Tolima attacker kept threatening the Ghana defense when his shot was saved by Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim as the Black Starlets were let off the hook for the second time in less than a minute.

Ibrahim Sadiq fluffed a big chance in the 24th minute when he failed to capitalize on a free header after receiving a good cross from Eric Ayiah, the Right to Dream Academy player was flagged offside a minute later after getting the ball at the back of the net.

Ibrahim Sadiq finally got the breakthrough with a cool finish in the 38th minute. The Right to Dream Academy player tapped in an Eric Ayiah’s cross to give the Black Starlets the lead having had an earlier goal disallowed by the referee.

Yadir Meneses Betancur’s decent effort in the 42nd minute almost caught goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim off his line.

Colombia Coach Orlando Restrepo made a quick change just after recess by introducing Déiber Caicedo for Brayan Gómez who looked good in the first half.

Ibrahim Sadiq’s cross found Eric Ayiah at the near post the captain’s touch missed the post narrowly. Sadiq Ibrahim who had been the livewire Ghana denied a second goal in the 55th minute when goalkeeper Kevin Mier got his body off the way to block the former’s effort.

Mohammed Idrissu’s strike in the 60th minute went over the bar after another sweet work from Ibrahim Sadiq on the right. It was all Colombia in the second half as they pressed for the equalizer.

Coach Restrepo in a bid to inject more bite in his attack brought on Santiago Barrero for                Deyman Andrés Cortés in the 67th minute.

Eric Ayiah could not make it two for Ghana when he fumbled in the 18-yard box after a sweet through ball from Aminu Mohammed.

Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin brought on Isaac Gyamfi for Mohammed Idriss in the 75th minute to strengthen his midfield.

Aminu Mohammed tried to squeeze one past goalkeeper Kevin Mier at the near post by the 17-year-old Atlético Nacional gloves-man was quick to react.

Déiber Caicedo missed a glorious chance in the 81st minute when he had only goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim to beat but shot wide.

Midfielder Gibriael Leveh came on to replace Mohammed Aminu who had sparkled throughout his time on the pitch.

Goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim came to the rescue of the Black Starlets one more time when he saved Santiago Barrero’s close range effort in the 83rd minute. Juan David Vidal came on to replace injured Santiago Barrero who picked up a knock in an attempt to find the equalizer for his side.

Edmund Arko-Mensah also came to the play the final 5 minutes for Ghana as he replaced Emmanuel Toku. The Colombian however kept on the pressure for the match-needed equalizer.

The two-time Champions stood to their grounds and protected their lead as they picked their first 3 points in the competition.