Experienced Mali courageous hard pitch conditions to get better of Ghana

In hard weather conditions at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, both teams struggled through and attempted to play the football that has brought them so much success so far in the tournament. However, skipper Mohamed Camara will be suspended but will take heart that they have found new heroes apart from N'Diaye, who had scored in every game up until the quarters clash in Guwahati. Mali, however, dominated the majority of passages of play, and took the lead on 15 minutes.

Eric Ayiah, usually effervescent in the opposition box, cut a sorry figure as lack of preparation for the conditions showed as Ghana managed only a single shot on target in the first half.

Ghana coach Samuel Fabin protested the referee's decision saying the latter "acted too late in calling the foul". However, experience, a word that is a paradox given the nature of this youth tournament, became the undoing of Ghana as Mali waddled through hard conditions to become the first side to register a spot in the final four of the competition. This told mostly on goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.

The second goal was rather comical as Ibrahim left his post to clear a long ball and ended up miscuing it to Traore. With one look up, he saw Ibrahim struggling to get back between the sticks, and opened up his foot, letting a fantastic, curled effort towards goal.

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Fabin also came down heavily on the match referee for disallowing a goal to his side in the 40th minute of the match. Ibrahim made a quick recovery only to see the ball slip out of his hands and into the goal as he went for a catch.

"We had trained adequately in rain to prepare for the conditions".

Kudus scored for Ghana off a 70th-minute penalty. "This move helped us modify our game and get the breaks at the right time", was how Mali coach Jonas Komla defined his team's win.

Having received a penalty, Kudus Mohammed converted with a left footed shot to the centre of the goal in the 70th minute to make it 2-1.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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