U-20 AFCON: Danlad Ibrahim powers Black Satellites into semis

BY: George Ernest Asare
Ghana's Black Satellites celebrating the team's shootout victory

Goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim became the hero for his side when he powered the Black Satellites into the semi-final stage of the ongoing U-20 Africa Nations Cup tournament. The Ghana captain saved a penalty kick which gave Ghana a 4-3 victory over Cameroun on Thursday at the Stade Olympique in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

After 120 minutes of hot exchanges that saw the two teams scoring a goal apiece during extra time, Ibrahim led by example in posts when he dived to his left to save Cameroun's fourth kick by Kevin-Prince Milla (son of Cameroun legend Roger Milla) to knock out the central Africa side who had earlier missed another kick by Goni Ali whose shot bounced off the crossbar.

Ghana scored from all four kicks during the shootout as against two by their opponents, rendering the fifth kick by Coach Abdu Karim Zito's side redundant.

Ironically, it was Milla who broke the deadlock in the 103rd minute of extra time after the two sides failed to find the back of the net during 90 minutes of regulation time.

Three minutes after Cameroun opened the scoring, substitute Frank Boateng brought Ghana at par with a brilliant half volley that bounced off the turf and caught goalkeeper Junior Hecube flat footed.

The game was mainly concentrated in midfield as both sides made occasional inroads into each other's territory, but the strong defensive walls kept the attackers of both sides at bay, with few clear scoring chances coming their way.

It was not until the 23rd minute that Cameroun managed to get past the Ghana defence and almost broke the deadlock, but the agility of goalkeeper Ibrahim saved Ghana as he parried Saidou Ibrahim’s shot to corner.

Five minutes later Ghana also had a scoring opportunity but skipper Daniel Afriyie Barnieh hesitated in finishing off a through ball and allowed Cameroun's Enzo Gianni Tchato Mbiayi to clear the ball from his foot.

The Satellites continued to probe for the opener as petit Mathew Cudjoe, Percios Boah and Afriyie Barnieh combined in attack with good inter-positional display but lacked the cutting edge to split open Cameroun's defence.

Late into the game Cameroun made a number of dangerous moves into Ghana's goal area but goalkeeper Ibrahim was unyielding.

Ibrahim Danlad saved the decisive kick from the spot to give Ghana victory

There were more fireworks during extra time as Milla opened the Cameroun the scoring before Boateng cancelled the lead and threw the encounter into a shootout to separate the two sides.

Afriyie Barnieh, Emmanuel Essiam, substitute Ivan Anokye Mensah and Percios Boah held their nerves and scored from the spot to Ghana send into the semis.

Ibrahim the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and the father of Isaac; according to Genesis, God promised to give Abraham's family (the Hebrews) the land of Canaan (the Promised Land); God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son More (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)