Ghana are one win away from a fourth U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title after exacting revenge on the Gambia in the semi-finals of the 2021 tournament in Mauritania Monday afternoon. Ghanaian Striker Percious Boah was once more immense for the Black Satellites as they avenged the 2-1 group stage defeat to the Young Scorpions.
A difficult contest at Stade Olympique de Nouakchott had Boah settling the match with a 33rd-minute trademark free-kick from the edge of the box into the top left corner of Saidy Lamin’s goal.
It was the second time in the game that Boah was coming close with a free-kick and this time, he ensured he had the ball on target and past the keeper. In the third minute, the burly forward struck his effort just wide from 20 yards out after danger man Abdul Fatawu Isahaku was axed as he dribbled forward.
Ghana had started on the front foot from the first whistle and after Boah had threatened with a brilliant free-kick, Fatawu lined up next with a well-volleyed ball off Boah’s set up but the effort went wide.
In the 16th minute, Lamin was called up for work when he had to give a strong right palm to punch away a low drive from Fatawu off a free-kick at the edge of the box.
Gambia had not threatened Danlad Ibrahim in the Ghanaian goal and the keeper’s first real test was in the 28th minute but he made light work of a Kajally Drammeh volleyed effort.
The Gambians however should have gone to the break on level terms after Danlad’s passing error which arrowed the ball straight into opponents’ legs in midfield.
However, Lamarana Jallow couldn’t control the ball well to strike at a gaping goalmouth while Momodou Bojang’s control also failed him as the ball landed on his feet inside the box when it was recycled.
At the start of the second half, the Young Scorpions were off to a better start and they threatened early with Wally Fofana’s well-taken strike forcing a good save off Danlad in the Ghanaian goal.
Gambia had another chance with a free kick from good scoring range, but the chance was wasted with Jallow striking it straight to the wall.
Both teams made changes, Gambia bringing in Alieu Barry and Alagie Kujabi for Fofana and Ebou Camara. Ghana brought on Frank Boateng and Mathew Cudjoe in place of Emmanuel Esseiam and Mohamed Sulemana.
Gambia had most of the ball but sadly couldn’t find the means to penetrate a stonewall Ghanaian defense.
The Black Satellites now await the winner of the second semi-final clash between Uganda and Tunisia for a tasty grand finale on Saturday, March 6.