Ghana successfully earned their qualification for a sixth consecutive FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica on Sunday after defeating Ethiopia 2-1 in Accra.
The West Africans had gained the upper hand against the Ethiopians in the fifth round doubleheader after securing a 3-0 first leg win thanks to a first half brace from Salamatu Abdullai and Cecelia Nyama’s effort in Addis Ababa two weeks ago.
With a huge away win, the Black Princesses looked to make the best of their home ground and got off to a flying start when first leg heroine Abdulai opened the scoring for the hosts after just his two minutes in the encounter.
The Ghanaians continued to push for another to put the contest beyond the East Africans and Abdulai yet again found the breakthrough to hit her brace and extend the advantage for home side in the 25th minute.
The Ethiopians, however staged a fightback, having found themselves 2-0 down and Mesay Temwagen headed home a free kick from Aregash Kalsa four minutes later to pull one back before going into the half time.
In the second half, the visitors looked the more determined side with two goals ruled out for offside but the hosts held on firmly to earn their qualification despite the sending off goalkeeper Cynthia Fiindib four minutes from time.
The result means Ghana have completed a double over Ethiopia for the first time in the competition and secured a 5-1 victory on aggregate to join Nigeria in qualifying as the two African representatives for the global youth tournament.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Ben Forkuo [U20 Women’s head coach, Ghana]
“After our first game in Ethiopia, we needed to come back and make preparations for our match against Ethiopia today (Sunday). The game was a very nice game but we know we are yet to qualify for the world cup at Costa Rica and the girls did their best to make sure of that. The whole match was very great and competitive which was everyone’s expectations. The girls did well, although we didn’t won by the margin we wanted but they did play according to instructions. We won 3:0 in Ethiopia and wanted scoring more here, but it didn’t happen. Our target now is to break the jinx of not going past the group stage at the World Cup. Since we’ve qualified, we will strengthen areas that we are weak because Africa’s football can’t be likened to the Women’s World Cup, so we must work on ourselves before we get there.”
Cynthia Fiindib [U20 goalkeeper, Ghana]
“I want to thank God for making us qualify. Getting the red card, though I am unhappy, I feel it is needed to save the situation. I really don’t have much to worry about. I was the last person on the line, if I hadn’t stopped that it would have been a goal, and our aims was not a draw or losing the match so that necessitated my actions. Whatever the coach says we follow, I believe my teammates at the Women’s World Cup, even if I have to miss the first match, they would cover up for me before I join them and we’ll definitely work hard break the group stage jinx.” Source: Cafonline