Mukarama Abdulai is revelling in an outstanding performance which saw the forward scoring a hat-trick as Ghana’s Black Maidens got their FIFA Under-17 Women’s world Cup campaign off to a flying start with a 5-0 drubbing of hosts Uruguay at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo last Tuesday night.
She emerged the star of the night as teammates Fuseina Mumuni and Millot Abena Pokuaa scored in either half of the match to complete the annihilation of the host side in the official opening match of the tournament.
Six years ago, the Maidens defeated Uruguay by a similar scoreline in a group clash en route to winning bronze at the 2012 tournament in Azerbaijan.
Mukarama, 16, was beside herself with joy after winning the Player of the Match award. She later expressed her excitement at Ghana’s victory and her achievement on Twitter.
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“It was a special feeling to score a hat-trick and player of the match award on my World Cup debut. Amazing team performance, always proud of my girls. We go again on Friday. Thanks y'all for the messages. Alhamdulilah," tweeted the Northern Ladies forward, who scored 12 goals for the Black Maidens during the World Cup qualifiers.
Despite a partisan Uruguay crowd spurring on the hosts, it was the impressive Ghanaians that controlled the early stages of the contest, with Grace Animah given a clear sight of goal but shot wide off the target just six minutes into the game.
It was a sign of things to come, as the Black Maidens claimed a firm grip on proceedings with two goals in five first-half minutes. They opened the scoring when an unmarked Fuseina took a pass from Mukarama before converting with a simple turn and finish in the 20th minute. Coach Evans Adotey’s side quickly doubled their advantage five minutes later, as Animah’s fine cross from the left found Mukarama to head home at the far post.
It was a challenging opening period for the host team, La Celeste, who were forced to replace injured goalkeeper Jennifer Sosa with Agustina Caraballo after a collision with Ghana’s Fuseina in one of two substitutions that Uruguay made before half-time.
Caraballo was called on to keep her side in the match early in the second half, as she denied Mukarama at close range before team-mate Juliana Viera had to clear another Mukarama effort off the Uruguay goal-line.
Ghana's third goal
A third goal would arrive in the 66th minute, as Pokuaa broke in and finished with aplomb before Mukarama completed her hat-trick with two late goals in the 78th and 90th minutes to seal a fine Ghanaian performance in Montevideo.
Ghana sit top of Group A and will on Friday play Finland, who lost 0-1 to New Zealand in the other group encounter.