Ghana’s Black Starlets have qualified for the knockout stage of the on going FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
Two goals by captain Eric Ayiah helped Ghana to a 4-0 victory over India in their final Group A match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday. With the result, Ghana secured top spot in the group on goal difference and a place in the Round of 16. Defeat for the hosts, meanwhile, ended their dreams of making the knockout stages in their first-ever FIFA competition.
The first half proved frenetic at times, as the Indians were not giving them enough space to operate, the Black Starlets took control and created the majority of the chances. Though it took some time, they got the opener just before the break when Ayiah struck home on the rebound after India goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem parried Sadiq Ibrahim’s low cross into his path in the box.
Ayiah went ahead to double Ghana’s lead seven minutes after the break, finishing first-time from Edmund Arko-Mensah’s cutback pass in the Indian box. Ghana secured top spot in the group with a pair of late goals from Richard Danso and Emmanuel Toku.
Though the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium never stopped supporting their side, the task of overcoming the two-time U-17 World Cup champions proved too much for the Indians, whose campaign in this tournament comes to an end after three straight defeats in the group.
“The first and the second matches were tough, and I know we’ll meet such challenges in the world cup but I know I needed to prove my clout,” Ayiah told the press at the post-match interview.
“I had chances to score in those two game but I didn’t utilize them, so my coach taught me how to be composed in front of goal and I heeded to his advise and it helped me perform greatly today.” He concluded.
Ghana top the group with 6 points same as Columbia and USA but with a the best goal difference of 4 goals.
The Black Starlets will meet the third best placed team from Groups CD and E.