(From Caesar Abagali, GNA Special Correspondent, Piura, Peru) Courtesy: PureJoy Fruit Juice
Piura, Sept 23, GNA - Ghana's U-17 national team, the Black Starlets early this morning failed to qualify to the next stage of the FIFA U-17 World championship.
Although the Starlets fought gallantly with ten men to draw 1-1 with China in their last group match played at the Miguel Grau stadium in Piura, the draw could however not ensure their qualification to the quarter-final stage.
The Starlets had to for the second time play with ten men to finish the game after George Appiah was red carded in the first half, thus reducing numerical strength.
Their elimination has thus broken the record of the Starlets of been eliminated in the first round since their participation in the competition from 1991.
The Starlets played very well in the entire duration of the match and had the opportunity to score about four goals but luck and the decisions of the referee denied them victory. The team saw their two early goals scored in fourth and 17th minutes of the first half being disallowed by Referee Alain Hamer from Luxenbourg.
Sadat Bukari however put the Ghanaians in the lead in the 55th minute, which gave much hope to the Ghanaians and went ahead to mount sustained pressure on the Chinese but they could not translate chances into goals.
Wang Xuanghong of China cancelled the lead some few minutes later with a header and from then on they resorted to a well-orchestrated technique of time wasting to ensure they had a drawn result.
Emmanuel Adjety who came in for David Telfer in the second half played all his heart out combining beautifully with the mid-field and attack to actually change the pattern of play of the Ghanaians but they failed to utilise their chances to take the lead.
The Starlets earned an indirect free kick that attracted full support from the home fans as they Peruvians kept on shouting and chanting victory slogans for Ghana but the kick was wasted. Try as the Starlets did to score the winner for their survival, the Chinese made sure that they defended gallantly and did not give away any chance to spoil their joy as they continued to play delay tactics even during the six minutes of time added on.
The Starlets would thus be packing home after failing to record a single win in the championship.
Costa Rica also humiliated home side Peru 3-1 in their last group match played in Iquitos to top group A with five points and would be meeting Mexico in Piura for the quarter finals.