Ghana's Under-17 team, the Black Starlets, inflicted a 3-1 defeat on their Gambian counterparts, the Young Scorpions in their first leg Algeria 2009 Africa Under-17 football championship qualifier at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi on Sunday.
Ghana scored their first goal in the 11th minute through Bright Addae when he headed home a free kick from Fatau Mohammed after his team mate Enoch Ebo Andoh was brought down in the vital area of the Gambians.
The Gambians accepted the challenge and counter-attacked and this paid dividends for them three minutes later when Sahiour Gassamah headed into the yawning net from Fansu Simaka's cross from the left flank with goalkeeper James Alhassan sprawling in vain to make a save.
With both teams at par, the Starlets improved on their game and attacked from all angles with their game plan frustrating the defence of the Gambians and it came as no surprise when Abdou Njie was flashed the yellow card by referee Attamah Ibrahim of Nigeria in the 16th minute for rough tackle.
Ghana's attack led by the skilful Ebo Andoh who was a torn in the flesh of the Gambian defence continued to pile pressure in search of more goals but they failed to translate their chances into goals as most the shots of the strikers in their anxiety went off target.
In the 45th minute Frank Acheampong's header from an Aaron Amoah's free kick surprisingly hit the head of the Gambian keeper Musah Kamara for a corner kick to the Starlets but the kick was wasted to end the half.
The Starlets came out strongly in second half and rightly increased their goal tally in the 53rd minute through a spot kick which was taken by Moro Ibrahim after the ball hit the hand of a defender in an attempt to save a dangerous situation in the box.
The determined Gambians fought hard to find the equalizer but the defence of the Ghanaians refused to bulge as their attack continued to probe for more goals.
Coach Kwasi Afranie brought on Kwame Frimpong for Mohammed Alhassan in the 81st minute and the substitute announced his presence with a shot which the goalkeeper managed to parry to corner.
The Starlets tormentor-in-chief, Ebo Ando, who was later substituted, was brought down in the box by a Gambian defender, Lamine Samateh for the referee who was nearer the spot to not hesitate to whistle for a penalty which was again scored by Ibrahim in the 83rd minute to ensure a sweet victory.
The Gambians made a last minute onslaught but were unable to redeem a goal till the final whistle.
The second leg of the match would be played in Banjul in Gambia in two weeks time.
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