Ghana too strong for Lions
Tuesday, 29 September, 2009
England beaten 4-0 by Sellas Tettah's side at the U20 World Cup.
Nicholas Veevers in Ismailia
Ghana produced a dominant display in the FIFA U20 World Cup to defeat Brian Eastick's England side 4-0 in Egypt.
Dominic Adiyiah notched a goal in each half, captain Andrew Ayew scored with a fantastic strike on 57 minutes and Ransford Osei completed the victory in the closing stages. But what was always going to be a difficult game, was made even harder before kick-off when England goalkeeper Jason Steele, defender Matthew Briggs and midfielders Adam Clayton and Michael Woods were all ruled out through illness which hit several members of the squad in the 24 hours building up to the game.
However, it was a bright start to the game by England, winning a dangerous free-kick and corner within the first minute and playing some bright and incisive football, with Paul Marshall again looking lively from dead ball situations.
The first shot of the game came from the Young Lions too, with Febian Brandy fashioning some space for himself on the edge of the area before arrowing a shot wide of the post.
They were then the width of the bar away from taking the lead in the ninth minute, when Kieran Trippier floated a free-kick to the far post for Ben Mee. He climbed highest to knock the ball back into the danger zone for Jon Obika whose header crashed against the angle and Ghana desperately scrambled clear.
At the other end, Elliott Parish was forced into his first save of the night after 14 minutes when Adiyiah glanced a header at goal from Ayew’s cross, but Parish was well placed to make a comfortable catch.
From there, Ghana started to enjoy more of the game and England were left chasing the ball for long spells, but the Black Stars couldn’t find a way to breach the defence. The closest they did come was in the 30th minute when Ayew beat Nana Ofori-Twumasi down the right, but with a tight angle to contend with he chose to shoot wide when there were better options for him in the centre.
The pressure eventually told though and Ghana had the lead in the 38th minute when a free-kick into the box found its way to Adiyiah. He controlled before turning and then striking low past Parish, who was unsighted by a crowded penalty area.
England were no doubt glad to hear the half-time whistle, with a chance to regroup and they emerged for the second half with Andrew Tutte on in place of Marshall.
It almost had an effect too, as Josh Walker’s corner from the left was met sweetly by the left foot of Martin Kelly, but his rising shot went just over the bar.
After 57 minutes, England were hit with another hammer blow as Ghana got their second and what a fine goal it was. Ayew picked up the ball on the right and as he ran across the face of the area, he unleashed a ferocious left-footer which flew into the top corner and giving Parish no chance. Undoubtedly one of the goals of the competition so far, unfortunately against England though.
England were within inches of getting themselves back in it moments after, when Trippier’s delivery from the right skimmed just above the heads of both Kelly and Mee as the Young Lions looked for a lifeline.
It was the same case in the 66th minute, when Alex Nimely’s cross from the left was just too high for Obika, who could only rise high enough to get a flick-on rather than a clear attempt on goal.
With the two goal advantage in place, England always faced an uphill battle to get themselves level, but they certainly put the effort in and given the illness which several of the players had suffered from in the 24 hours leading up to the game, it was commendable.
Unfortunately, with just under ten minutes left, Ghana sealed their win with Ransford Osei firing home from the edge of the area and that was swiftly followed by a second for Adiyiah after a penalty box scramble to complete a tough night for England in Ismailia.
England must now regroup ahead of their final group game against Uzbekistan on Friday evening.