Ghana tops group, dream ends for India

Ghana's players and coach celebrate a goal during the FIFA U-17 World Cup match against India in New Delhi Thursday. — AP

NEW DELHI — Two goals by captain Eric Ayiah helped Ghana to a 4-0 victory over India in their final Group A match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup here Thursday.

With the result, Ghana secured top spot in the group on goal difference and a place in the Round of 16. Defeat for the hosts, meanwhile, ended their dreams of making the knockout stages in their first-ever FIFA competition.

The opening half proved frenetic at times, but as it wore on, the Black Starlets took control and created the majority of the chances. Though it took some time, they got the opener just before the break when Ayiah struck home on the rebound after India goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem parried Sadiq Ibrahim’s low cross into his path in the box.

Ayiah doubled Ghana’s lead seven minutes after the break, finishing first-time from Edmund Arko-Mensah’s cutback pass in the Indian box. Ghana secured top spot in the group with a pair of late goals from Richard Danso and Emmanuel Toku.

Though the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium never stopped supporting their side, the task of overcoming the two-time U-17 World Cup champions proved too much for the Indians, whose campaign in this tournament comes to an end after three straight defeats in the group.

Colombia recorded a 3-1 victory over USA in a hard-fought match that saw both teams go through from Group A.

The result leaves both sides even on six points along with group winners Ghana and the Colombians claiming the tie-breaker based on the head-to-head result.

Paraguay made it three wins out of three in the opening stage of their Indian adventure, beating Turkey 3-1 in Mumbai.

A classy quick-fire double from Giovanni Bogado and Fernando Cardozo at the end of the first half left Turkey with it all to do after the break, and their task became near-impossible after Antonio Galeano added a third just after the hour mark.

Turkey found a consolation goal in second-half injury time from Kerem Kesgin's powerful shot from the edge of the area.

Mali secured its spot in the Round of 16 after an assured 3-1 victory over New Zealand in New Delhi.

Wednesday’s result saw it finish second behind Group B winner Paraguay, while New Zealand misses out on the knockout stages after claiming one point from its three group matches. — Agencies