Ghana disgraces Angola in African Youth Championship qualifier

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The Black Satellites, Ghana’s Under 21 soccer team, on Sunday beat their Angolan counterparts 5-1 in the first leg African Youth Championship qualifier.

Playing before a sparse crowd at their favourite Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra, the Ghanaians saw themselves behind after 15 minutes despite their early dominance of possession and near misses.

Mario Pueta scrambled the ball into the net as Ghanaian goalkeeper, Joseph Addo spilled a long shot from the right to make nonsense of the early pressure mounted by the hosts.

The goal appeared to infuriate the Satellites, who took absolute control of the game and drew rings round their opponents, who appeared nervous despite their advantage.

Ghana levelled up three minutes later when Mohammed Alhassan tucked in from the left, beyond the reach of Angolan goalkeeper Carlos.

With the scores at a goal apiece, the Ghanaians resorted to a delightful brand of football as they made accurate passes across the field without straying and went close on a few occasion but messed up due to over elaboration.

But the writing was on the wall and Athletico Madrid youth striker, Sadique Adams put the Satellites in the lead on 23 minutes when he powered home a free-kick from atop the Angolan penalty area.

Ten minutes later, Ransford Osei, who wore the skipper’s arm band in place of substantive captain Andrew Dede Ayew, son of the legendary Abedi Pele, who flew to his Marseilles base in France for medical treatment, made it 3-1 for Ghana.

He headed in from the right after being picked in the box by a precise delivery from Adams.

The one-way traffic continued and in the first minute of the two minutes added time at the end of the first half, Abdulai Ganiyu beat Carlos from close range with a left footer to send Ghana 4-1 into the break.

It was a different ball game in the second half as the Angolans came out of their shells.

They contested every ball and became the superior side in terms of possession and finesse but lacked the finishing power to upturn the table. Augustus Silva, Antonio Manuel, Miguel Josias and Bernardo Silva made the Ghanaians chase their shadows persistently but they could not do any damage.

And as the game travelled into added time after the regulated 90 minutes, skipper Ransford Osei registered a brace when he beat Carlos with a tricky left footed shot after he got a neat pass from substitute David Donkor.

An elated Sellas Tetteh, who was relegated from the Black Stars’ technical headship after guiding the senior team through four World Cup qualifiers, winning three and losing one, praised his boys for coming back after going down early in the match.

He said they could have scored many more goals if they had kept up the fight as they did in the first half.

The coach was sure they would go past Angola into the next round of the competition and qualify to play at Rwanda 2009 and the World Youth Championship thereafter.

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