Black Satellites are through to the semi-finals of the 2013 Under-20 World Cup after Ebenezer Assifuah scored on the 120th minute to beat ChileGhana after an enthralling game against Chile which ended 4-3 in their favour secured a semi-finals berth after they had gone behind twice in the game.
The Ghanaians took the lead early on through Moses Odjer in the 11th minute before a quick fire double from Chile courtesy strikes from Castillo and Henriquez in the 23rd and 27th minutes respectively put the Chileans in the driving seat.
A 72nd minute Ebenezer Assifuah goal forced the game into extra time. Henriquez grabbed his second goal of the game in the 98th minute but the Chileans would lose to goals from Seidu Salifu and Assifuah late in the game.
The game started in a brisk fashion as both sides, clearly buoyed by the occasion looked to settle into their rhythm and trouble the opposition as soon as possible.
The Chileans managed an effort at goal as early as the second minute. The Ghanaians were not to be left out though as their attacking exploits also earned them three corner kicks in the first 10 minutes one of which was a result of a dangerous header back to the keeper which he managed to get to before the chasing Boakye-Yiadom, much to the relief of the Chileans. In line with the attacking start though, the first goal of the game came in the 11th minute from the boot of 16-year-old Odjer.
The midfielder showed composure and technique to rifle home a volley after cushioning down a frank Acheampong cross with his chest. Acheampong had played a huge part in the move preceding the goal beating two men before a simple one-two with Baba Rahman allowed him the space to find Odjer who was unmarked at the far post.
The Ghanaians seemed comfortable in the lead and were holding off the Chilean onslaught till the 24th minute when the Chileans capitalised on a mistake in midfield by Aboagye to play Nicolas Castillo through, the forward rifling home the equaliser with a powerful effort from tight angle to bring the Chileans level. Ghana almost went in front a few minutes later as a good ball across the face of goal was almost turned into his own net by a Chilean defender.
After successfully defending the resulting corner, the Chileans hit the Black Satellites on the counter, managing to take the lead through a Henriquez strike from the edge of the box into the bottom corner and out of the reach of goalkeeper Ofori Antwi. Chile looked far more assured after the goal comfortably keeping out the Ghanaians, who were playing with a real sense of urgency, while still proving a potent test in attack though neither side managed to add to the goals leaving the teams to go in at half-time with the score at 2-1 in favour of the South Americans.
Considering the circumstances, the Satellites would be expected to come out guns blazing in the second half and they did, first good work from Acheampong down the flank resulted in a good lay off from the winger which fell just behind Boakye-Yiadom. Acheampong was at it again a couple of minutes later this time setting up Seidu Salifu on the edge of the box but the holding midfielder struck his effort straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Chile worked themselves into the game and almost killed the game with three quick fire chances.
Castillo drew a good save from Antwi with a fierce shot from an angle similar to the one from which he scored in the first half. Then it was the turn of the other goal scorer, Henriquez, to draw a save out of Antwi. The young shot stopper was called into action again less than a minute later rushing off his line to punch out a cross but despite the loose ball falling to a Chilean, his effort only found the backside of Lawrence Lartey. The Chileans were made to rue those misses though as the Ghanaians levelled the scores in the 72nd minute through Assifuah who poked the ball into the net after good play by Aboagye to set him up. The Ghanaians should have restored their lead a few minutes later when Assifuah was played through on goal with only the keeper to beat but Melo pulled off a wonderful block to prevent what will have been a goal. Both sides would have been feeling they could have had the game in the bag as the final whistle drew to a close but they failed to find the decisive moment, ushering the game into extra-time to decide the winner.
Extra-time started in the same brisk manner as the game itself with both teams creating guilt edged chance in the first two minutes of extra-time. Acheampong hit the inside of the Chilean post with a fierce effort before Ofori Antwi pulled off a quite important save to smother Castillo’s effort after the forward had been played in on goal. Chile restored their lead in the 98th minute as Henriquez timed his run perfectly to get his head onto a well measured ball from deep and loop it over the onrushing Ofori Antwi.
Despite a lot of pressure from the Ghanaians, the Chileans managed to keep the Ghanaians out for the rest of the first half of extra-time. The Ghanaians kept knocking in the second half of extra-time and after many a frustrated move found the opening in the 113th minute as Aboagye orchestrated a chance for Salifu, who managed to slot the ball past Melo to pull the Ghanaians level. Assifuah wasted another guilt edged chance a minute later as he was played through again by Aboagye but he couldn’t get his flick around Melo who had rushed out to narrow the angle.
Attamah saw his header go just wide before Assifuah’s long range effort swerved away from goal just at the last minute as Ghana pushed on for the winner. A winner which came in the last minute of extra time as a lovely Acheampong run set up Assifuah whose weak header was allowed to sneak into the goal as the Chilean defenders fell over themselves in a bid to get the ball clear.
Ghana face off against France in the semi-finals of the tournament and the 2009 champions will be hoping to revenge a 3-1 defeat in their opening game at the group stages.