Sierra Leone avoids Ghana in AIYT Semi Finals
Sierra Leone National Under-20 side will be playing any of the three teams in Group B save Ghana in the Semis of the African International Youth tournament (AIYT) Madam trophy. Sierra Leone emphatically defeated Ojoko FC from Nigeria 4-0 and ensured they end up 1st in Group A which means they will avoid Tournament’s favourite Ghana in the last four. Their fellow Group A rivals, Gambia also qualified for the semi-final stage of the ongoing AIYT in Freetown after they defeated Liberia 2-1 in the final Group A matches on Wednesday. (Photo: Sierra Leone’s late Issa Koroma, aka Madam)
Sierra Leone Under-20 had qualified before they took in to the pitch after The Gambia’s 2-1 victory over defending Champions BYC of Liberia in the day’s opening match. But the Sierra Leonean knew they had to win with a large margin against Ojoko FC of Nigeria to ensure they finished at the top of the group to avoid facing the top team in Group B Ghana in semis. Indeed they won handsomely 4-0 and will now on Friday face the team that will finish second in group B in the first semi-final match. Shooting Stars outperformed Ojoko FC and the result was a complete reflection of the match and the Sierra Leoneans should have even won by a wider margin as they wasted good scoring chances.
Idrissa Sesay gave them the lead in the 22nd minute when he released a shot from out of the box in to the net after receiving a left-wing pass from a nice build-up from midfield. Mohamed Mansaray scored twice to increase the lead to 3-0 before half time, one from a free kick in the 32nd minute and the other from the penalty spot in the 45th minute to increase his tally in the tournament to three goals.
Alhaji Kamara added the fourth in the 77th minute when he collected a through pass and quickly ran between two defenders and unleashed a heavy shot from inside the box to register his second goal in the tournament. Sierra Leone had several misses in the two halves whilst the Ojoko FC got just one close miss in the entire match and it was from striker Owotuyi Isaac six minutes after the break when he shot wide from box. Gambia came second in the group on goal difference and will now face Ghana in the semi finals. The Gambians came from behind to score twice within four minutes in the second half to send BYC FC packing.
Baba Sama accounted for both goals, the first was in the 46th minute he picked up a through pass, ran in to the box and released a wicked shot that passed the BYC FC goalie Mulbah Urey. His second goal came from the penalty spot just after the Liberians were reduced to ten men following the sending-off of Alpha James for a second bookable offence. Defender Francis Jaballah handled the ball in the box and FIFA referee Edward Billy Parkinson didn’t hesitate to award a penalty. Sama stepped up and sent the Liberian goalie the wrong way.
BYC had earlier taken the lead in the 19th minute as Sylvester Neufville’s far-range shot passed under the hands of the Gambian goalie Musa Camara. They even got a clear chance to equalise in the 90th minute but Kpah Sherman wasted it. There will be one semi-final place to fight for on Thursday when the final matches in group B take place.
Diambars Academy of Senegal engage the South Africa national Under-20 side Amajitas and host team FC Johansen face a difficult match against group leaders Ghana.
FC Johansen are second in group B with two points and a win for them will see them qualify for the semis. But if they lose and there is a winner in the other match, that winner will qualify.
If FC Johansen lose and the other match end in a draw, it means the Sierra Leonean club, Diambars Academy and Amajitas will all be tied in two points each. Goal difference will come to play and if they are equalled, the team with the highest number of goals scored will go through. If again they are equalled draw will be held by the organisers to decide who go through.
Muctaru Wurie, Freetown
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