Ghana’s Black Princesses dampened the mood in Canada after they defeated the host nation by a lone goal to set off their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup campaign to a flying start.
The scene of the ‘David’ and ‘Goliath’ match was at Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium last Tuesday night as a lone strike from the Black Princesses’ Sherifatu Sumaila midway through the opening half proved the difference.
Goalscorer Sherifatu Sumaila of Ghana (2nd R) celebrates with Fatima Alhassan (20)
Ghana’s female soccer teams are carving a niche for being fearless against continental opposition after they shocked women’s soccer world in beating Germany by the same margin at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in March 2014
The latest victim, Canada saw the Ghanaians play fast-paced, entertaining yet fruitless until Sumaila, weaved past several defenders before feeding on a cross from team-mate Edem Atovor.
And when Atovor’s low cross was not dealt with by the goalkeeper, Sumaila took full advantage from close range.
Canada defender Kadeisha Buchanan had made several important interceptions but she could do little to prevent Sumaila breaking the deadlock on 22 minutes.
Sherifatu Sumaila of Ghana scores despite the efforts of goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan of Canada during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 Group A match between Canada and Ghana at the National Soccer Stadium on August 5, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
The wood work denied Canada its best chance after Emma Fletcher zooming in from the left, struck Victoria Agyei’s post. The denial signaled the end of the first half.
The hosts endured the agony of misses, saves and solid Ghanaian-made defending in the second half as the Black Princesses ensured that the vociferous 14,834 strong crowd counted for nothing.
Player of the match Victoria Agyei of Ghana makes another save under pressure during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 Group A match
60th minute Substitute Nichelle Prince demonstrated her reputation for speed but her shot was matched by a brilliant save from Victroia Agyei whose goalkeeping demonstration won her an instant reputation and player of the match award.
Canada threw in the kitchen sink in the final ten minutes as Ashley Campbell forced a header just wide. A miss closely followed by another from Buchanan in injury time from Prince’s cross.
Ghana’s win leaves Canada with little margin for error in their remaining Group A matches against Finland and 2006 champions Korea DPR.
“We’re ready for what’s next and what it’s going to take. We’ve already put this behind us. We’ll be ready to go forward,” Canadian head coach Andrew Olivieri said after the match.
Ghana with more modest aims will look to survive the group stage for the first time at the third attempt. While Canada’s coach Andrew Olivieri had earlier said the Young Canucks’ are looking to better their first runner-up feat in the inaugural World Cup in 2002 which was also staged on home soil.
The Ghana side is basically the same that claimed a third-place finish at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup two years ago in Azerbaijan. And showed the same technical awareness, swift football and creativity they last showed in 2012.
Edem Atavor of Ghana is challenged by Kadeisha Buchanan of Canada
Their display left Canda’s coach making excuses: “North American players will always have a little more difficulty adjusting to (Ghana’s quickness),” Olivieri said.