Exciting start to U-17 world cup as Ghana edge Columbia 1-0 and New Zealand were held 1-1 by Turkey

Ghana vs Columbia :-

Ghana began with some excellent exchange of passes with some swift display on the flanks.

However Colombia’s Robert Mejía got the first attempt at goal in the 11th minute when he tried a long range effort which went straight into the arms of Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.

Jaminton Campaz nearly got the opening goal for Colombia in the 14th minute when he outwitted Ghana defender Gideon Mensah before taking a wonderful strike which went wide, the Deportes Tolima attacker kept threatening the Ghana defense when his shot was saved by Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim as the Black Starlets were let off the hook for the second time in less than a minute.

Ibrahim Sadiq finally got the breakthrough with a cool finish in the 38th minute. The Right to Dream Academy player tapped in an Eric Ayiah’s cross to give the Black Starlets the lead having had an earlier goal disallowed by the referee.

Yadir Meneses Betancur’s decent effort in the 42nd minute almost caught goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim off his line.

Colombia Coach Orlando Restrepo made a quick change just after recess by introducing Déiber Caicedo for Brayan Gómez who looked good in the first half.

Ibrahim Sadiq’s cross found Eric Ayiah at the near post the captain’s touch missed the post narrowly. Sadiq Ibrahim who had been the livewire Ghana denied a second goal in the 55th minute when goalkeeper Kevin Mier got his body off the way to block the former’s effort.

Mohammed Idrissu’s strike in the 60th minute went over the bar after another sweet work from Ibrahim Sadiq on the right. It was all Colombia in the second half as they pressed for the equalizer.

Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin brought on Isaac Gyamfi for Mohammed Idriss in the 75th minute to strengthen his midfield.

Aminu Mohammed tried to squeeze one past goalkeeper Kevin Mier at the near post by the 17-year-old Atlético Nacional gloves-man was quick to react.

Déiber Caicedo missed a glorious chance in the 81st minute when he had only goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim to beat but shot wide.

Goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim came to the rescue of the Black Starlets one more time when he saved Santiago Barrero’s close range effort in the 83rdminute. Juan David Vidal came on to replace injured Santiago Barrero who picked up a knock in an attempt to find the equalizer for his side.

Edmund Arko-Mensah also came to the play the final 5 minutes for Ghana as he replaced Emmanuel Toku. The Colombian however kept on the pressure for the match-needed equalizer.

The two-time Champions stood to their grounds and protected their lead as they picked their first 3 points in the competition.

New Zealand vs Turkey :-

In the build-up to the clash, New Zealand captain Mata spoke of the need to begin brightly against a Turkey side renowned for their strong starts to matches. But the Europeans were able to continue that tradition and appeared to adapt more quickly to the soaking conditions as the rain poured down at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

After riding the storm as Turkey dominated the opening ten minutes, New Zealand issued a reminder of their attacking abilities when Mata played in Elijah Just down the left and he picked out Kingsley Sinclair in the box. But Sinclair was off balance as he struck his effort towards goal and could not make a clean connection as the ball bobbled wide.

New Zealand were made to pay for spurning that opportunity in the 18th minute when danger man Kutucu put Turkey ahead in stunning fashion, showing amazing technique and power to head in a corner from a long way out.

Again it was Mata and Just at the heart of the move, the former making progress on the left and cutting the ball back for Just, whose low strike was blocked by a defender. As the action swung from end to end, goalscorer Kutucu turned provider to find Malik Karaahmet, who tried to catch out Clark with a looping header but the Kiwi custodian showed good balance to gather the ball without carrying it over the line.

As the heavy rain continued to fall, New Zealand began to grow into the game and finished the half strongly. With Mata, Just and Charles Spragg proving a handful, Hay’s side created a couple of chances, both coming from the pin-point set piece delivery of Leon van den Hoven.

The midfielder showed an uncanny ability to drop his corner kicks right on the six-yard box and Spragg got his head to the first of these but couldn’t direct his header under the cross bar. Clark was then called into action at the other end to beat away a powerful Kutucu shot before a van den Hoven corner again caused problems. It was Mata on the end of it this time, firstly to win a header and then trying to force the ball home at the second attempt but the Turkey defence managed to scramble clear.

Hay’s men were becoming the dominant side though and soon had the equaliser their efforts richly deserved, Just showing good awareness to take a free kick quickly and play it into the path of Mata, who finished calmly to make it 1-1 just before the hour mark. Seconds later, Mata was again at the heart of the action after being involved in a physical encounter in the area. He strongly appealed for a penalty but New Zealand’s claims were again turned down.

What would have been a pleasing evening for Hay ended on a sour note though as Mata picked up a second booking with one of the last acts of the game and was therefore dismissed, meaning New Zealand will be without the services of their talismanic skipper for Monday’s clash with Paraguay.

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