Ghana’s Black Satellites will encounter Niger tomorrow for a place in the final of the ongoing WAFU “B” U-20 Championships being held in Benin, while Cote d’Ivoire will engage Burkina Faso in the other semi-final match later in the day.
On Saturday December 12,, the Satellites lost 0-1 to Cote d’Ivoire at the Stade Charles De Gaulle in Porto Novo in the final Group B match to finish second in Group A behind the Ivorians, while Niger won Group B after holding Togo to a 1-1 draw at the Rene Pleven Stadium in Cotonou.
After defeating Nigeria 1-0 last week, Ghana looked determined to overpower Cote d’Ivoire to finish top of the group, But Coach Abdul-Karim Zito’s side were stunned by a 30th minute Kossi Nguessan strike which zoomed into the net before Ghana’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad could react to it.
The win meant the Baby Elephants topped the group with four points, while the Satellites finished second with three points.
Nigeria, considered to be one of the favourites in the competition, exited at the group phase with just one point after two matches.
In last Saturday’s clash between the Baby Elephants and the Satellites, the Ivorians came into the game with the sole aim of getting a point to advance to the next stage of the competition and, therefore, packed their defence and midfield and relied on counter attacking football to break up the Ghanaian defence.
With a lot at stake, Coach Zito’s charged applied pressure on their opponents with the aim of cancelling the first half lead but the Ivorians proved very resilient as they held onto their advantage to win the tie.
Incidentally, hosts Benin, also crashed out of the tournament last Saturday after suffering a 0-1 defeat to Burkina Faso at the Charles De Gaulle Stadium, while Niger advanced to the semis as group winners when they showed Togo the exit form the competition.
Winners of Tuesday’s semi-final clashes meet in the final this week