Ghana Meet Sierra Leone Under-20 IN AIYT Final Today After Dramatic Shootout
Dramatic penalty shoot-outs are always unpredictable and nerve racking for football teams, but that was how it ended in the decider of who faces Sierra Leone Under-20 in the AIYT Madam Trophy. This means the Sierra Leone national Under-20 team Shooting Stars and its Ghanaian counterpart Ghana’s Black Satellites will battle it out for the Madam trophy in the grand finale of the African International Youth Football Tournament (AIYT) in Freetown today after both teams won their semi-final matches last night.
In the second match between Gambia Under-20 vs Ghana Under-20, the Gambians earlier took the lead in the 50th minute capitalising on a serious blunder by the Ghanaian goalie Akwasi Achampong, The Black Satellites then equalised with a beautiful header eight minutes to the end of normal time through substitute Emmanuel Opare after the ball was drifted in from the corner post.
The match was full of strength and long balls, but there was evidence of fatigue on both teams and as the time passed by it was clear that it was going to be a deadlocked encounter. The match went straight to penalty shoot outs and Gambia kicked four and scored only one whilst the Ghanaians kicked three and scored all of them.
Ghana Under-20 coach Orlando Wellington said now that his team were in the final he would make sure that they win the trophy. “We’ll approach the match against Sierra Leone with all seriousness and I’m optimistic that we’ll win,” Coach Wellington said in the post match press conference after their victory over Gambia.
Shooting Stars narrowly defeated host team FC Johansen 1-0 in the first semi-final match while Black Satellites defeated their Gambian counterparts 4-2 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1 on regular time
Alhaji Kamara accounted for Shooting Stars goal in the 37th minute in a match that was boring to increase his tally in the tournament to three goals. But however Shooting Stars dominated play and created more chances. In his part, Alimamy Turay, head coach of Shooting Stars said nothing would stop them from winning the trophy as his boys are ready for battle.
“My boys are ready for a real battle and we’ll not disappoint Sierra Leoneans on Saturday,” Coach Turay said. Shooting Stars rested four of their key players against FC Johansen due to minor injuries and Coach Turay has revealed that they’ll be fit to play against Ghana. They include the team’s captain Khalifa Jabbie, Alhassan A. Kamara, Sallieu Kamara and Mohamed Mansaray, co-highest goal scorer in the team so far. The two teams emerged as leaders of the respective groups to reach the semi-final. On their way to the grand finale, Shooting Stars defeated BYC FC of Liberia 2-0, Ojoko FC of Nigeria 4-0, drew with Gambia 1-1 and won against FC Johansen 1-0.
Ghana beat South Africa 3-0, Diambars Academy of Senegal 3-1, drew with FC Johansen 0-0 and won on penalties against Gambia. Surely, it’s going to be a tough battle but Shooting Stars despite playing at home will start as the underdogs but should not be totally ruled out.
Muctaru Wurie, Freetown
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