The National U-20 Football team, the Black Satellites on Saturday exhibited a high sense of concentration and splendid performance to beat the Hippos of Uganda 3-0 at the Tamale Sports Stadium to qualify to the next stage of the 2012 Africa Youth championship.
The Satellites started the game with much enthusiasm to win the match since they lost 3-1 to the Ugandans in the first leg encounter in Uganda with the knowledge that any mistake to concede a goal would have been a mishap for them.
The Ugandans were the first to set the ball rolling under the instruction of referee, Mumuni Kiagon from Benin after a minutes’ silence was observed for Ghana’s late President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills who was buried on Friday.
Right from the whistle of the referee, it was the Black Satellites who their showed superiority as they pressed their opponents in an attempt to draw the first blood but goalkeeper Salim Jamal was at his best and alert to thwart any threat.
It was the Ghanaians who made the first attempt at scoring on the third minute from a free-kick but the Ugandan goalie made a brilliant save to dash the hopes of the Satellites.
Moses Odjer however was on target to open the scores for Ghana on the seventh minute through a corner-kick, after the ball had bounced back to him and with a rehearsed tactic he perfectly shot the ball straight into the Ugandans net, leaving the goalie in a confused state.
The Satellites after scoring the first goal continued to dictate the pace of the game with the Ugandans failing to fine their teammates since their passes were easily intercepted by the Satellites.
The Ghanaians got another glorious opportunity to increase their tally when the referee awarded them a penalty in the 28th minute after substitute Francis Narh was brought down in the penalty box but Jacob Appau could not convert it but rather kicked the ball over the bar to the relieve of the Ugandans and a disappointment to the Ghanaians.
The Satellites put in extra efforts to get another goal before ending the first half but not even four minutes of added time could help them get the needed goal until referee Kiagon brought first half proceedings to an end.
From the recess, the Ghanaians came in with enhanced energy and changed the pattern of play, as they mesmerized the visitors and nearly fetched a second goal in the 46th minute but lack of concentration denied them the goal.
They kept on mounting the pressure to the Ugandans, who by then started playing delay tactics so as not to conceive more goals since a 1-0 defeat could have earned them a qualification.
The young Ghanaian lads with dedication and perseverance, kept the pressure on and in the 59th minute the long awaited goal came from the boots of Ebenezer Assaquah for the stadium to welcome the goal with deafening noise.
The second goal gave some relieve and hope to the spectators since a 2-0 win could have qualified the Satellites because of the away goal they had in Uganda but shouts of “We need more goals” was what the stadium expected from the players.
At this stage, the Ugandans who resorted to delay tactics suddenly woke up from their slumber and returned the pressure on the host but their goalmouth scares could not redeem a goal for them.
The game from then became physique as the Ugandans used their strength to threaten the Ghanaians with the referee allowing the Ugandans to go on with their acts only some verbal warnings.
As the situation was getting out of hands, the referee finally flashed yellow cards to Joseph Mpande, Yussif Muleisa and Nicholas Wadada of Uganda.
As the Ugandans were showing their strength on the pitch, the Satellites searched for more goals and in the 76th minute Emmanuel Gyamfi gave a terrific kick from a pass to slot in the third goal, which was received once again with a ‘volcanic eruption’.
The Ugandans became more aggressive and mounted a sustained pressure on the Ghanaians in an attempt to at least redeem a goal so that they would have the opportunity of going into the extra time and possibly into the lottery of penalties.
The Ghanaians sensing that the pressure was too much for them contain also resorted to delay tactics, for Emmanuel Gyamfi to receive a yellow card for time wasting during the five minutes of time added on with the visitors getting frustrated as the Satellites succeeded in ending the game 3-0 after referee Kiagon whistled to bring proceedings to an end.
The Black Satellites thus progressed to the next stage of the competition on a 4-3 aggregate.