Vastavam web: United States of America secured their passage into the round of 16 riding on substitute Ayo Akinola’s 75-minute strike for a 1-0 victory over Ghana in an enthralling Group A game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here today.Coach John Hackworth’s 63rd minute substitution proved to be a masterstroke as the 17-year-old forward found the back of the net off a Christopher Goslin pass to put his team in front at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.Some credit must be reserved for Hackworth, who, realising that Tim Weah, one of his better players, was having an off day, decided to make the change.
Till Akinola got the better of Danlad Ibrahim, it appeared that the two teams would share the spoils after a slew of attempts failed to materialise in a goal.Up until that point, the Ghana goalkeeper was doing his job like a dependable custodian would normally do. His counterpart at the other end of the field, Justin Graces, was also impressive.In a battle for the top spot in the group, both Ghana and USA showed enterprise and even though the Americans dominated possession, the Africans looked dangerous with their speed and had eight attempts on target to their opponents’ six in the first half.
First up though was Aminu Mohammed, who found himself inside the box in the early minutes of the game, but could not get the better of three USA defenders surrounding him.Ghana captain Eric Ayiah was then put through a one-on- one situation with Garces. He beat the USA goalkeeper but fell before he could finish.Sadiq fired one from a close range but his shot was brilliantly saved by Garces.Meanwhile, USA captain Josh Sargent was denied from a very close range by Danlad’s brilliant work under the bar.