Ghana have won Group A at the U-17 World Cup after thrashing hosts India 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
The Black Starlets finished level on six points with both Colombia and USA (the former beat the latter 3-1 in a simultaneous match in Mumbai), but their handsome goal difference of +4 saw them top the log and claim automatic progression into the last 16.
Ghana were on the front foot from early on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances and found Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem a tough man to beat.
However, the Black Starlets remained patient and were finally rewarded a couple of minutes before the half-time break, with skipper Eric Ayiah providing a fine finish to an incisive passing movement.
It took just seven minutes of the second half for Ghana to double their advantage and again it was a case of Ayiah finishing off a good team move, with the West Africans able to slice open the hosts’ defence.
The match looked set to end at 2-0, with Ghana seemingly happy to take a two-goal win, but news that Colombia were leading the other group match sparked the Black Starlets back to life.
They claimed two late goals through Mohammed Kudus and Emmanuel Toku in the 86th and 87th minutes respectively - the additional strikes saw Ghana rise clear of Colombia and the USA on goal difference.
Ghana will face a third-placed team from either Group C or D in their last 16 clash in Navi Mumbai on October 18.
Ghana (1) 2 (Aiyah 43’ 52’, Kudus 86’, Toku 87’)
Ghana: I. Danlad, N. Yakubu, B. Terry Owusu, G. Mensah, R. Alhassan, I. Gyamfi, G. Leveh, S. Ibrahim (E. Toku 56’), I. Sulley, E. Arko-Mensah (M. Kudus 76’), E. Ayiah (R. Danso 82’)