Baku - Ghana on Sunday joined Nigeria to qualify for the quarter finals of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan.
Ghana defeated China 2-0 and moved on to the knock-out stage of the competition, just as Nigeria defeated Colombia 3-0 to qualify for the quarter finals.
The West African country’s victory came through a brace from Jane Ayieyam’s double strikes, propelling Ghana to a duel against Japan on Friday. Oct. 5.
Ayieyam had also in Ghana’s opening two Group D games, saved her best for the last when finding the net twice in the final section encounter against China.
Her exploits helped bring an end to a run of three consecutive defeats for CAF nations against their AFC counterparts at the competition, with the Ghanaians facing Japan in the next round.
Playing a quicker game and pressing well, the Black Maidens took an early lead through Ayieyam.
Taking down Fatima Alhassan’s deep cross superbly, Ayieyam’s resulting effort hit the bar, but she was on hand to tap in the rebound.
As China failed to implement their more intricate style of play in a packed midfield, Alhassan forced Lu Feifei into two superb full-length saves to keep her side in touch.
In a late first half rally, China’s best chances of the half fell to Miao Siwen, first skewing a header wide, then wastefully firing over, after showing quick feet in the box.
After the break, the game deflated somewhat, with Ghana happy to set on a result that would take them through, with China struggling to break through a packed final third.
As the game ground into what seemed to be a stalemate, Feifei had to be on her toes to prevent Sherifatu Sumaila’s cross dipping under the bar with 15 minutes to go.
As the game went on, Ayieyam was the only player bringing any impetus to the Black Maidens.
Fittingly, it was she who sealed the game for Ghana with her second goal, breaking free in a one-woman counter-attack before slotting calmly under Feifei.
Similarly, a 5-2 victory over Uruguay in Lankaran stadium sealed top spot in Group D for Germany and set up a quarter-final clash with Brazil at the 8 KM Stadium in Baku, on Oct. 5.
In other results, Japan beat Mexico 9-0 while New Zealand went down 3-4 to Brazil.