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Today in Sports History: Black Starlets beat Spain to win FIFA U-17 World Cup

Ghana 1991 Under 17 World Cup Winners Ghana won the final match against Spain in the 1991 Under 17 World Cup tournament

Tue, 31 Aug 2021 Source: happyghana.com

On this day 31 August 1991(Exactly 30 years ago today) The Black starlets of Ghana beat Spain 1-0 to win their first FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence.

Spain kicked off pushing deep into the Ghanaian area and using the right where Carlos Murguj set a high pace for Kofi Mbeah. But the Spanish pressure did not persist for long.

By the seventh minute, the Ghanaian identity had been established and Duah was so hot to handle. In the fourteenth minute, Spain’s Felipe Vaqueriza was booked for foul on Emmanuel Duah.

Duah became rather obsessed by his own good work and became negative contributor in the sixteenth minute and eighteenth minutes when excessive elaboration of his dribbling skills prevented Ghana from threatening the Spanish goal.

The stout nature of the Spanish defence persisted for long and the period between the fifteenth and twentieth minutes were particularly frustrating for Ghana’s game organiser, Nii Odartey Lamptey.

Skipper Alex Opoku was also lost in the game rendering Dan Addo the only effective worker in midfield. Leading striker Yaw Preko had also not found any way of breaking loose from the two–man security on him mounted by Esposito Gonzalez and Ceasar Palacious.

In the 38th minute, Esposito earned the yellow card for wrestling Yaw Preko in one of the Ghanaian’s few bright moments.

By the end of the first half, virtually all the game had been played in the Spanish half but there was nothing to reflect such a trend. The only evidence of popular support was expressed by all 20 ball boys who surrounded the Ghanaian reserves as they did in previous matches.

There was also the unbroken support from the Ghanaian fans who populated the stands.

And with these, the Starlets resumed the second half determined to break the deadlock and establish their superiority.

They moved with precision with Odartey and Duah pushing the front runners but each time the final touch was ineffective.

Such situations on some occasions forced Duah or Odartey to pierce deep into the Spaniard's defence.

But the Spaniards were not completely locked out of the game as dangerman Toni and Gerardo also tormented the Ghanaian defence with hair – raising moves.

Their determination to break the Ghanaian defence became evident midway in the second half when they sent on two attackers, including Estevez, who got their equaliser in the group 1-1 drawn match earlier, for two midfielders.

But Estevez was well marked out by Sebastian Barnes and the substitute hardly could make any impact like in their previous encounter.

As the game was simmering to the seventieth minute it became evident also that the Ghanaian attack needed some bite as Yaw Preko, for instance, just couldn’t find his strides.

Nothing seemed to work for him and by the seventy-fifth minute, he was withdrawn in for Willie Brown.

But before Willie came in, Alex Opoku had dummied three defenders to let go a sizzling shot that Spaniard goalkeeper Javi grabbed with equal excellence.

Willie Brown’s inclusion, no doubt, was soon to give the victory, signal as the striker forced a Spaniard defender to deflect his kick to corner.

Alex Opoku directed a diagonal that saw tireless Duah soaring above everybody to head the ball powerful and deflecting off a Spaniard head into the net.

This was it and the Ghanaian had sealed the game. But two moments of carelessness by goalkeeper Ben Owu during a Spaniard siege in the late minutes of the game nearly gave away an equaliser.

However, the Ghanaian defence stood firm. On one occasion, Kofi Nimo in a desperate effort had to apply the knee to lift the goal–bound ball high out of the danger zone while on the other Isaac Asare put pressure on substitute Estevez to shoot wayward from a bouncing corner kick.

Moments after these near misses, referee Leif Sundell of Sweden blew his whistle to proclaim the Ghanaians world champions.

Ghana: Ben Owu, Sebastian Barnes, Kofi Mbeah, Isaac Asare, Kofi Nimoh, Mohammed Gargo, Nii Odartey Lamptey, Dan Addo, Yaw Preko(Willie Brown), Alex Opoku (C), Emmanuel Duah

Head Coach: Otto Pfister

Spain: Javier Lopez Vallejo, Ceasar Palacios, Ramon Gonzalez Esposito, Carlos Castro, Juan Carlos Gutíerrez, Felipe Vaqueniza (Jose Gálvez), Dani García, Carlos Alejandro Sierra (Pedro Volasco), Emilio Carrasco, Juan Carlos Murguí, Gerardo García

Head coach: Juan Santisteban

Referee: Leif Sundell

Champions:

Ghana’s first-ever FIFA U-17 World Championship title richly deserved. Able to call on just the right blend of individual talent and team spirit, the Ghanaians were never afraid to take the initiative and were ultimately rewarded for their enterprising approach.

Expertly coached by master German tactician Otto Pfister, their made-to-measure 1-3-4-2 formation invariably had opponents in the back foot from the first whistle.

If the team had a week spot it was in attack, where they sometimes had trouble converting all their chances, but this could be explained by the fact that they had the youngest squad of all the sides in the competition, with an average age of just 16 years and 1 month.

Top of the class for Ghana’s youngsters were Kofi Mbea, Mohammed Gargo, sweeper Isaac Asare, and ace marksman Nii Odartey Lamptey, who scored four goals.

Player of the Tournament:

The Adidas Golden Ball could only go to one of the members of the victorious Ghanaian side, and so it was, with Nii Odartey Lamptey taking home a very special souvenir from his Italian sojourn.

Lamptey was the beating heart of a very good side. His fast feet, speed of thought, and clever interplay with captain Nana Alexandre Opoku and fellow midfielders Mohammed Gargo and Emmanuel Duah were on display for all to see. His willingness to get into the box was critical too, and his four goals made him joint top – goalscorer.

Ghana Squad: Ben Owu, Sebastian Barnes, Isaac Asare, Samuel Kuffour, Kofi Nimo, Mohammed Gargo, Yaw Preko, Nii Odartey Lamptey, Willie Brown, Nana Poku, Emmanuel Duah, Daniel Addo, Kofi Mbea, Abdul Migima , Joseph Essien, Samuel Kissi, Mark Edusei, Ali Jarra.

Elsewhere;

On this day 31 August 1969(Exactly 52 years ago today) On the 34th birthday of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Ebusua Dwarfs spoilt their party by beating the Porcupine Warriors 5-0 in Cape Coast. Kotoko had just returned from a ten day UK training tour where they lost all their three matches; 1-3(Crystal Palace), 0-3 Birmingham City and 0-2 (Oxford United)

Goals Scored

Robert Kwofie (19, 75)

Edwin Conduah( 21)

Oliver Acquah (25 OG)

A.K Mensah (70)

On this day 31 August 2003(Exactly 18 years ago today) The 9TH IAAF World

Championships in Athletics was officially closed at Saint-Denis, France with Kenya topping the medal table with a total of 16 medals including 7 gold medals followed by Jamaica 7 gold medals, the United States and Great Britain followed with 6 gold medals each.

On the final day, France won the men’s 4*400m relay followed by Jamaica and Bahamas whiles the United States won the women’s event, joined by Russia and Jamaica on the podium.

On this day 31 August 1969(Exactly 52 years ago today) Former world heavyweight champion, who went undefeated in his career, Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash at 45.

Source: happyghana.com
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