Percious Boah’s 33rd-minute freekick at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott handed Ghana a 1-0 victory over Gambia, sending the Black Satellites to the final of the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, Mauritania 2021.
Ghana laid revenge on the Gambians after losing 2-1 when they last met in the group stage matches in Noaudhibou, with the precious victory handing them a chance to vie for their fourth title at the Under-20 AFCON.
The Black Satellites sealed the deal in the opening half, going to the break with a goal to the good and deservedly so after being the brightest off the blocks and creating the lion’s share of chances.
Boah took them 1-0 up in the 33rd minute with an expertly taken freekick, curling the ball beyond the wall and 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 freekick and this time, he ensured he had the ball on target and beyond the keeper. In the third minute, the burly forward struck his effort just wide from 20 yards out after dangerman 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 freekick, 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 freekick 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 opponent 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 freekick 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 means to penetrate a stonewall Ghanaian defense.