AFCON U20: Boah’s free-kick enough as Ghana defeat Gambia to reach final

Monday March 1, Ghana 1-0 Gambia, | Uganda vs Tunisia, 10:30pm

The Black Satellites of Ghana are through to the final of the 2021 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania following a 1-0 victory over the young Scorpions of Gambia.

Percious Boah’s first-half effort decided the semi-final fixture at Stade Olympique in the city of Nouakchott.

It was timely revenge for Abdul Karim Zito’s charges who gave away a lead to fall 2-1 to the Gambians in their first meeting at the tournament in the group stage.

The defeat contributed to the Satellites’ third-place finish in Group C, and they snuck into the quarter-finals as one of two best third-placed teams at the championship.

Ghana now await the winners of the second semi-final fixture between Tunisia and Uganda for a showdown in the final on Saturday.

Coach Zito made one change to Ghana’s starting set-up, bringing back Mohammed Sulemana into the team in place of Matthew Anim Cudjoe.

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Tournament joint-scorer Modou Bojang, who has two goals to his name, headlined Gambia’s first XI.

After Ghana and Abdul Fatawu Issahaku saw a penalty shout in the sixth minute ignored, the midfielder fired a second attempt 10 minutes later but his shot was saved by Gambia goalkeeper Lamin Saidy.

In the 33rd minute, Boah registered his second goal of the tournament, curling a free-kick from outside the box into the net.

After the half-time break, Gambia came back with renewed energy, putting Ghana under defensive pressure, and forcing goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad to produce saves in the 52nd and 56th minutes.

In the 82 minutes, Fatawu, having spotted goalkeeper Lamin Saidy off his line, saw an audacious effort from inside his own half fly just over the bar.

Seven minutes later, the Satellites missed another opportunity to double the lead as substitute Cudjoe narrowly failed to connect with a teasing ball into the box.

After four added minutes, the Guinean referee whistled to bring the game to an end, marking Ghana’s return to the final for the first time since 2009.

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The Black Satellites, who failed to make it past the group stage at the 2019 tournament in Niger, are looking to win the tournament for the fourth time after successes in 1993, 1999 and 2009.

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