A brace by Daniel Lomotey yesterday gave Ghana’s Black Satellites a bright start in the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament with a 2-0 victory against Burkina Faso in their opening in the Group B match played at the Stade de Maradi in Niger.
In a tough and physical encounter, Lomotey gave the Satellites a deserved lead in the 41st minute when he capitalised on a poor clearance by a Burkinabe defender as he lifted the ball above a stranded goalkeeper Mohamed Abib Tapsba who had moved off his line in a failed attempt to grab the ball.
The WAFA forward was on hand again in the 77th minute of the game to seal victory for his side.
He outmuscled his Burkinabe marker, Gilbert kone who attempted to shield the ball for his goalkeeper and lifted the ball into the roof of the net before Tapsba could make contact with it.
While Lomotey proved to be the key marksman for the Satellites, goalkeeper Manaf Nurudeen of Ghana proved equal to the task as he made important saves to deny Burkina Faso an opportunity to claw back from the two-goal deficit.
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Against the run of play in the 38th minute, the Burkinabes, who were under intense pressure, broke loose and entered the goal area of Ghana with a fine interpositional play between Gilbert Kone and Yael Kiswendsida Cyril which saw the latter in a good position to break the deadlock, but Nurudeen stretched to his limit to parry his power laden shot to corner with the resultant kick was wasted.
Nuredeen came to the rescue of his side again in the 80th and 85th minutes when he made decisive saves at a time the Satellites were under intense pressure from the Burkinabes who ware fighting for a late goal.
The match was rescheduled for yesterday following floodlights failure last Sunday.
But the change of date did not affect Coach Jimmy Cobblah’s side as they took control of the game from the start and pushed more men forward but failed to break the deadlock until Lomotey struck in the 41st minute to turn the match around.
The Satellites next play against Senegal in their second group clash with a second straight win for Ghana set to guarantee them a place in the semi-final of the competition and also hand them one of the four qualification tickets to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
After the match Coach Cobblah expressed his satisfaction with the result and promised an improved performance in their next game.
"We won but we know the tournament has just started and in our next game you will see a better Ghana," he said told the media.