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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Speedy Ghana trump Colombia in opening game

Former champions Ghana rode on Sadiq Ibrahim’s first-half winner to defeat Colombia in their opening game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 06, 2017 20:28 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Sadiq Ibrahim
Sadiq Ibrahim scored in the 39th minute as Ghana beat Colombia 1-0 in their opening game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday. (Twitter/ Scouted Football‏ )

Twice FIFA U-17 World Cup champions Ghana prevailed over Colombia in the opening Group A match between teams of contrasting styles at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday. (India vs USA Live)

The clash between Colombia and Ghana was expected to be a battle between possession and counter-attacking styles and that was exactly what the crowd was treated to. Both teams looked to play with pace, resulting in a high tempo match with no drop in intensity even as it wore on. (Colombia vs Ghana Highlights)

Colombia had 59 % possession in the first half, yet it was Ghana who found themselves ahead at halftime. It was a goal from Sadiq Ibrahim that gave the African nation the lead as he capped a wonderful counter-attacking move with an easy finish in the 39th minute.

It was just reward for the physically superior Ghana who had dominated for most of the first half. In fact, Sadiq Ibrahim had the ball in the net earlier too, but his effort was correctly ruled out as offside.

(Read | Minnows Niger dream big at FIFA U-17 World Cup ahead of opener vs North Korea)

Ayiah-Ibrahim combo wreak havoc

Most of Ghana’s attacks in the first half came down the left wing, where Eric Ayiah was a constant menace for the Colombian defence.

It was skipper Ayiah who created the goal, producing a tantalising cross that completely beat Colombian goalkeeper Kevin Mier, leaving Sadiq Ibrahim to tap in what turned out to be the winning goal.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Germany determined to stay on till ‘last day’ of tournament)

However, Ghana lost their attacking spark when Ayiah switched flanks in the second half, the Africans looking less dangerous as the game wore on.

Ghana losing steam didn’t matter much in the end as Colombia, despite improving considerably in the second half, could not get the goal they needed to turn things around.

Colombia head coach Orlando Restrepo had promised his players will keep the ball to create chances. But whilst they did pass well, enjoying 56% possession, they couldn’t find the net once.

Restrepo admitted: “We had chances but didn’t convert them. Ghana were the better side today.”

Colombia’s best chance came from substitute Deiber Caicedo, who was one-on-one with the keeper late in the second half, but his shot went inches wide of the far post.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 20:24 IST