Bad start for Ghana at FIFA U-20 Women’s world Cup

Author: Maurice Quansah
Belinda Anane of Ghana challenges for the ball with Marie-Antoinette Katoto

Ghana’s under-20 women’s football team, Black Princesses got off to a bad start, losing 1-4 to hosts France in their opening Group A game at this year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup which opened in Brittany, France, on Sunday.

Traditional slow starters in tournaments, the Princesses were undone also by poor preparation for the World Cup as they struggled to settle down in the first half against an athletic and well drilled French side.
Aware of the threat the Ghanaians were capable of posing, given the experience of their clash at the 2016 tournament in Papua New Guinea, France went into early attack and succeeded in unsettling as Les Bleuettes opened the floodgates just six minutes into the game.

Emelyne Laurent ran on to the end of a brilliant cross from Selma Bacha and fired in a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar and post before bouncing over the goal-line.

France continued to dominate and were rewarded for their progressive play when captain Marie-Antoinette Katoto pulled back an inviting cross for Helene Fercocq to calmly guide a shot with the inside of her foot into the far corner to double their lead.
Laurent added a second on the evening on the 31st minute, with a lobbed effort that also hit the crossbar before making it 3-0 for the hosts.

Ghana continued to struggle to create many goalscoring opportunities. However, they eventually got on the score sheet in the second half when Grace Asantewaa put Sandra Owusu-Ansah through with a well laid pass, and the striker then rounded goalkeeper Mylene Chavas before finishing her chance.

It was a sign of hope for the Princesses to further reduce the tally and perhaps, get Owusu-Ansah, continue from where she left off at the tournament in Papua New Guinea where she scored in Ghana’s 2-2 group clash with France

However, substitute Sandy Baltimore put the icing on the cake for the hosts in the very last minute of second-half stoppage time when she tapped in from close range after Katoto's free-kick was initially saved by Ghana goalkeeper Martha Annan.

France’s two-goal heroine, Emelyne Katoto won the “Dare To Shine” Player of the Match.

Ghana: Martha Annan, Philicity Asuako, Justice Tweneboah, Linda Amoako, Blessing Agbomadzi,Grace Asantewaa, Ernestina Abambilla, Grace Acheampong, Sandra Owusu-Ansah, Kate Adu Agyeman/Olivia Anokye/Belinda Anane, Rafia Alhassan Kulchire