A hard-fought victory from the Black Satellites of Ghana ensured qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-20 Championship after beating Niger 5-3 on penalties.
After a goalless draw in 120 minutes, it took Frank Boateng’s well taken last spot-kick to grab Ghana a ticket to the biennial tourney to be staged in Mauritania next year.
The 5-3 penalty shootout win over Niger in the 2020 WAFU Zone B U-20 championship ongoing in Benin sent the Ghanaian team to the finals of the competition giving an automatic slot to the Africa Youth Championship in 2021.
Goalkeeper William Essu, Sulley Mohammed, Mugeez Zakaria, Percious Boah, and Frank Boateng’s penalty shoots were enough to deny the opponent progression to the final stage after Niger’s Mamani Osmanu, missed his spot-kick, with Lamini, Abdul Mumin, and Mustapha Abdul Malik excellently delivering their kicks.
Though the 120 minutes played was barren, Ghana created some decent chances in the first half from Mathew Anim Cudjoe and Mugeez Zakaria but were denied by the Nigerien goalie, Abubakari Isaaka who was substituted by Umaru in the second half due to injury.
With both teams chasing for a goal and the clock ticking to end proceedings, it was Boah’s goal in the second half of the extra minutes which was to break the deadlock but was ruled as an off-side goal by the linesman.
Standing in for head coach Karim Zito, the Assistant Coach of the Ghanaian team, Evans Adotey, to prove tactical prowess and winning the match substituted goalie Danlad Ibrahim who has been phenomenal in the competition by Essu who grabbed Ghana’s first penalty kick goal.
Ghana would meet the winner of the second semi-final game between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in the final on Saturday.80