U-17 World Cup: Ghana eye revenge against Mali (Preview)

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Guwahati, Oct 20 (IANS) Ghana will be out to settle scores when they meet west African rivals Mal in the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Saturday.

The contest will be a replay of the CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final in Gabon earlier this year where Mali defeated Ghana 1-0 thanks to a first-half strike by Mamadou Samake.

Ghana have been the more impressive team in this competition and will fancy their chances of extracting revenge for the defeat in Gabon.

Ghana will be boosted by the return of right winger Sadiq Ibrahim who was suspended for the Round of 16 clash against Niger.

Sadiq was impressive in the group matches, creating all sorts of problems for rival defences with his speed and accurate balls into the box.

Rashid Alhassan has also performed well down the left flank and with skipper Eric Ayiah and striker Emmanuel Toku making good use of the service from the wings with their excellent finishing and off the ball movement, Ghana have the ability to crack open any defence in this tournament.

Mali however, will not be easy opponents.

They have won the the CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations twice in a row — the first team to do so in the history of the tournament.

Although they do not possess the attacking ability of Ghana, Mali does boast of a well-oiled defensive structure which may give the Ghana forwards a run for their money.

Mali have the ability to score from outside the rival penalty box and the Ghana defenders as well as their goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim will have to be on their toes.

It should be a tough, physical battle between two sets of players with superb tactical acumen and the local crowd at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium are in for a cracker of a contest.

–IANS

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