New Delhi: India lost 4-0 to Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday as they finished their Fifa Under-17 World Cup campaign with no points on board.
Ghana, by virtue of their victory, moved up to six points and finished level on points with US and Colombia after Los Cafeteros beat the Americans 3-1 in their final group stage match. India had one solitary goal courtesy Jeakson Singh to show for their tournament efforts while they let in nine goals.
The game started with Luis Norton de Matos making four changes to the team that lost 1-2 to Colombia. Jitendra Singh, Suresh Wangjam, Aniket Jadhav and Nongdamba Naorem all came in as Namit Deshpande, Abhijit Sarkar, Rahim Ali and Ninthoinganba Meetei dropped to the bench.
India started off with a 4-2-3-1 formation as de Matos chose his most attacking line-up so far, with Jeakson and captain Amarjit holding fort while Suresh was given the license to venture forward.
For the first 20 minutes, India tried to match Ghana’s pace as they had a few forays forward but the Ghanians’ physicality kept the Indian attackers at bay. Ghana were slowly growing into the game as Edward Arko-Mensah tried to catch Dheeraj out with his long rangers which were comfortably dealt with.
The crucial opening goal for Ghana came in the 43rd minute as Sadiq Ibrahim flashed past Sanjeev Stalin to fizz in a ball into the box which keeper Dheeraj Singh could only parry on to the path of Eric Ayiah, the Ghanaian captain who swept the ball high into the roof of the net.
It was 2-0 soon after half-time as Arko-Mensah ran free on the left-wing and cut it back for Ayiah, whose shot was pin-point and arrowed into the bottom-right corner of Dheeraj’s goal.
Amarjit, Aniket and Nong were all taken off as de Matos tried bringing on Rahim Ali, Lalengmawia and Ninthoi to change the game but it was opposition substitute Richard Danso who got the third goal, running onto a through ball and effortlessly stroking it past Dheeraj from the left side of the box.
It was another sub Emmanuel Toku who got the fourth and final goal as Ibrahim Sulley’s shot rebounded off the post and all Ghana’s no 10 had to do was to put the rebound in to complete India’s misery.
Ghana and Colombia qualify automatically for the knockouts while USA will likely progress as one of the lucky third placed teams.