Ghana reach U17 AFCON final after edging Niger on penalties

Ghana reach U17 AFCON final after edging Niger on penalties
John Otu of Ghana clears ball from Hamid Galissoune Ajina of Niger during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Ghana and Niger at the Port Gentil Stadium, Gabon on 24 May 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday May 24, 2017. 18:27

Ghana edged Niger 6-5 on penalties to book a spot in the final of the 2017 U17 CAF Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday at Stade de Port-Gentil.

The Black Starlets scored from the spot through Terry Owusu, Gideon Acquah, Faisal Osman, Ibrahim Sulley, Emmanuel Toku and Mohamed Idriss whilst skipper Eric Ayiah's kick was saved.

Paa Appiah's men will now wait to see the winner between Mali and Guinea to set up a final fixture on Sunday night in Libreville.

In the beginning of the match Ghana skipper Ayiah missed a brilliant opportunity to put his side ahead as he received a low cross in the box, but his shot went wide in the fourth minute.

The 17th minute saw Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawal producing a wonderful save to deny Gabriel Leveh in a one-on-one situation.

Towards the half-hour mark, Appiah's men dominated the contest, yet their ability to finish their opportunities was disappointing for their supporters.

The Menas Cadets attempted a quick counter attack in the 31st minute, but Yacouba Aboubacar's shot lacked venom and went wide.

On the stroke of the interval, Habibou Sofiane failed to keep his header on target which went wide from close range with only keeper Danlad Ibrahim to beat.

With the first half seeing no goals, both camps returned from the tunnel with renewed energies and Ismael Magagi nearly scored for Guinea as his shot was saved by Ghana's Ibrahim on his near post just after the restart.

Ayiah showed his quality in the 71st minute when he received a defence splitting pass only to be denied by Lawal who parried the ball away from close range.

With four minutes to go Niger's set piece rattled the upright and bounced back to action allowing the Black Starlets defence to clear.

The were no goals at Port Gentil after 90 minutes and the match was decided in a penalty shoot-out to determine the first team to reach this year's final.

The loss for Niger means they will now play in the third/fourth place play-off against a semi-final loser between Mali and Guinea on Sunday.

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