New Delhi: India crashed out of the under-17 FIFA World Cup on Thursday after a 4-0 defeat against Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital.
Coming into this match after a good performance in the 2-1 loss to Colombia, India began the match proceeding with positive intent but eventually fell short as Ghana outperformed them. The record 52,614 people present at the stadium were on top of their voices throughout but the visitors proved too good for the hosts.
India began the match with an attacking verve. Got the first corner in the very first minute which was easily dealt with the Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim. India, however had a lucky escape in the fifth minute as Ghana broke on the counter. Ghana’s number 6 and skipper Eric Ayiah was caught offside. POINTS TABLE
Ghana’s number 13 Gabriel Leveh kept the Indian right back on his toes as he was attacking quite often. The Indian defence was in top form in the opening ten minutes.
Number 6 Suresh Wangjam dazzled with his silky feet with some deft touches but was fouled. India remained a threat in the opening quarter.
Boris took a low shot after sighting the goal but his shot didn’t have the venom to disturb the keeper.
Ghana number 17 Rashid Alhassan tried his luck with a curling shot. A good attempt taken but was wide off the goal post in the 21st minute. Boris Thangjam in defence was a menace for the Ghana attack as they were repeatedly thwarted by his clearance and physical presence.
Ghana’s midfielder Isaac Gyamfi hit a dipping shot in the 27th minute but luckily went above the goal post. Boris earned a yellow card fir his foul right outside the box. Ghana skipper Ayiah took the eventual free kick which was way off target.
There was mild concern for Indian keeper Dheeraj. The Indian medics rushed in to his aid. He was back on his feet after treatment. A major injury scare was averted.
A mistimed clearance by Dheeraj in the 42nd minute almost gave away a gift to number 4 Edmund Arko-Mensah who fluffed his lines.
It was in the 43rd minute that Ghana finally broke the deadlock and breached the resolute Indian defence. Skipper Eric Ayiah scored the goal from six yards after some horrid defending by the hosts.
The second half saw India attack but Ghana’s defence didn’t allow India to penetrate them. When one thought India would equal the proceedings, Ghana took advantage of their momentary lapse in defence. India paid the price in the 51st minute when Ghana’s skipper Ayiah made it two for them after a sublime finish.
Injury forced Nongdamba Naorem to depart with Ninthoinganba making way for the midfielder in the 55th minute. Ghana’s Ibrahim Sulley had the chance to make it 3-0 but his chip went easily to the hands of the Indian keeper Dheeraj in the 61st minute.
India skipper Amarjit Singh was substituted in the 62nd minute and forward Rahim Ali was brought on. Matos made a tactical shift playing two forwards up front.
India kept pushing forward but could not breach the Ghana territory. The second half hardly saw any potent attack from India.
Ghana piled on the misery in the closing stages of the match. Both Ghana substitutes Richard Danso and Emmanuel Toku scored in the 86th and 87th minute respectively for the visitors.
This Indian under-17 team didn’t win any of their match but their overall performance in their maiden FIFA tournament has opened the floodgates for a footballing revolution in the country.