Ghana Qualify as South Africa Amajitas and Host team Fight to a Stalemate
Ghana Under-20 is the first team to progress to the Semi Finals in the battle to lift the AIYT Madam Trophy in Freetown. The reigning world youth champions Ghana showed their class as they outperformed Arsenal legend Patrick Viera’s Diambars Academy from Senegal – the Ghanaian Under-20 side took the lead in the 7th minute when Osman Rahim was played clear from a build-up play. Striker Osman Rahim maintained his cool and slotted in from near post to take the lead in a match which the Ghanaians knew they had to win to ensure automatic qualifications to the next stage. (Photo: Diambars Academy players with match officials)
Diambars Academy Papa Mousa Sow had earlier failed to take the lead as he shot wide in front of goal. The Ghanaians started the match with all urgency and pelted the Senegalese goal with several shots after their first goal, it was clear that they were looking to double their lead. Their next break came on the 38th Minute of the first half when Lord Ofosuhene collected a through pass and quickly reacted by powering a heavy shot from inside the 18 yard box, the young Ghanaian striker celebrated with Asamoah Gyan like dance as the Ghanaians supporters at the National Stadium in Freetown joined in. With all due credits to the Senegalese, they never gave up and continue to fight in a match which many thought was over. They had several misses in the second half and were finally given some sense of hope when winger Mamoudou was brought down inside the box as he raced clear towards goal, the referee never hesitated and pointed his hands to the penalty spot.
Diambars Academy Papa Mousa Sow confidently moved forward and sent the Ghanaian goal keeper the wrong way making it 2-1. Diambars Academy should have equalised soon after, but the Ghanaians stood their ground as the Senegalese poured forward for a goal.
Ghana responded by breaking on a counter in the 88th minutes of the match with the long ball being sent to Emmanuel Opareh who drifted in to the corner post and fired in to make it 3-1. With six goals in two matches conceding one goal only, the Ghanaians are surely dominating this tournament for the moment. Diambars Academy coach Boubacarr Gakaejea conceded that his team was outplayed “We didn’t have a good game, Ghana is good team. They are very strong, our team gave their best but the Ghanaians are tough.” On his part, Ghana coach Orlando Wellington said his team almost lost concentration but were lucky not to be punished by the Senegalese.
The first game of the Match day four saw FC Johansen vs South Africa Under-20 battling it out to a 0-0 draw, there was no goal in this match but it was definitely filled with entertaining football and goalkeeper heroics as FC Johansen goalie, Mehdi Khalil captivated the applause of the fans and even the their South African opponents. His saves were instrumental in ensuring the tie ends 0-0 and as South Africa’s Amajitas Tshepo Gumede skilfully cuts in from the right angle and fed in an empty net he could not believe how FC Johansen goalie Mehdi Khalil flew in flicked out with his arms.
Another attack from the South Africans which led to another magnificent save from Lucky Baloyi powered in a goal bound shot from the left angle that was acrobatically intercepted by Mehdi Khalil.
FC Johansen were outplayed in midfield and their influential midfield sensation Ahmed Hassan was out of touch and never got into a match that the South Africans dominated.
FC Johansen had their most clear chance when attacking midfielder Charles Kamara had a miss of the tournament contender as he was set clear inside the six yard box, he bungled up and Amajitas goalie Ronwell Williams quickly returned from behind him and grabbed the goal-bound goal. Charles Kamara could not believe his misfortune as he lay down cutting a frustrated figure. The match was surely filled with entertaining football but devoid of goal and the South African coach Khabo Zondo acknowledged afterwards and told pressmen that he needed to work with his boys on scoring goals. He however said that despite the lack of goals he is happy for the exposure of his boys, “We struggled to play at some point because some part of the pitch was wet and that affected us a bit. The humidity is high but we are trying to adapt,” he said.
Coach Lamin Bangura said FC Johansen goalie deserved to be praised and that they are looking forward in getting the three points in their next tie with Ghana.
Muctaru Wurie, Freetown
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