FIFA U-17 World Cup: Akinola Strike Takes USA to 1-0 Win Against Ghana
Super Sub Ayo Akinola broke the deadlock in the 75th minute with a fine low shot across the goal
USA's Ayo Akinola in action during the game against Ghana. (Twitter/ Crossbar Reviews)
New Delhi: It was a clash between the two of the strongest teams in Group A, and the game lived up to the billing as United States edged out Ghana 1-0 in a close encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.
Super Sub Ayo Akinola broke the deadlock in the 75th minute with a fine low shot across the goal, much against the run of play and scored the only goal of the night.
Ghana started the game better off the two teams, settling in rather quickly and using the wings to attack. However, lack of quality in the final third, especially the delivery let the African team down.
US took some time to get running, but dominated the proceedings once they settled in. Ghanian keeper Danlad Ibrahim was called into action in the 16th minute as his quick reflexes denied Sargent the opening goal. The American centre forward got a solid header in from a Christopher Durkin cross.
For Ghana, Emmanuel Toku and Rashid Alhassan were combining well on the left-flank, giving Sergino Dest a horrid time. Dest on his part, had no support from Tim Weah, who was rather isolated in the first half.
American goalkeeper Justin Garces didn’t have much to do, but was called into action in the 40th minute as Ayiah broke the offside trap and looked to be through on goal, but to Garces read the situation well and charged in at the right moment to block the Ghanian forward’s shot.
In the second-half, it was Ghana who started on the front foot, raiding the US goal at will, with the Americans preferring to play on the counter and catch Ghana out.
It seemed as if the Africans were waiting for the evening to cool down a bit, and they upped their game as soon as the second half-started.
Ghana almost broke the deadlock in the 47th minute, with a short corner, which resulted in Mohammed putting in a dangerous cross. It led to a goal-mouth scramble with Ibrahim’s shot being cleared off the goalline.
US coach John Hackworth decided to replace Weah and Dest with Akinola and Watts in the 64rd minute, to end the horrid night for the two left players, both were being run apart at will by the Ghanian wingers.
Akinola used his physicality to good effect, and repaid the coach’s decision almost instantly as he found the back off the net just 12 minutes after coming on.
Ghana’s night was about to get worse as Abdul Yusif had to be stretchered out and the team ended the game with 10 men, as they had already used all the three substitutes.
Although six minutes off time was added on in the end, but 10 men Ghana failed to pose any significant threat to the American goal.
The result means that US are all but through to the next round, and even a draw against Colombia will be enough to ensure that they progress as group winners.
Ghana will now face hosts India in their final group match on Thursday.
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