Ghana oust Panama to qualify to quarter-final

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Ghana have qualified for the last 16 at New Zealand 2015 as Group B

winners after a hard-fought 1-0 winover Panama at Auckland's North

Harbour Stadium.

The Panamanians, who exit as a result of the defeat, were undone by a

solitary Emmanuel Boateng goal, and missed a late penalty through

Fidel Escobar.

Ghana completely dominated the early exchanges and it was the Tetteh

brothers, Samuel and Benjamin, who were causing most of the

problems.The former has been one of the stars of the Black Satellites'

campaign and in four minutes he jinked skilfully to the byline and

measured a cut back for his younger sibling.

Benjamin couldn't oblige with the finish though, making good contact

but directing the ball wide of the left-hand post.

Tetteh Jr was soon threatening again, though, and might have scored

just a minute later. First, having sprung the offside trap, he forced

a good save from Jaime De Gracia, then curled the rebound over with

the keeper stranded.

At the other end, Panama had offered little during the opening

half-hour but they did finally come to life as the first period neared

its conclusion.

Indeed, they would have take the lead but for a magnificent block from

defender Kingsley Fobi, who slid in to save his side after Edson Samms

had looked all set to convert Escobar's low cross.

Ghana remained the better side, though, and it took a brilliant save

from De Gracia to keep the scores level.Benjamin Tetteh could not have

struck his angled, left-foot volley any better, but the Panama No1

somehow got a hand to the ball anddiverted it on to the far

post.Having been a largely dull affair, the game was transformed in

the final ten minutes as both sides abandoned all caution and went for

the win.

Panama substitute Ismael Diaz was the first to threaten, bursting past

a couple of challengesand into the box, but shot wide when a goal

appeared certain.That miss became all the more costly a couple of

minutes later when Boateng gave Ghana the lead.

It was a tremendous solo effort from the substitute, who drove

forward, twisted away from the challenge of Francisco Narbon and

curled a superb 20-yard shot just inside the right-hand post.

Panama weren't done yet though and, after Jesus Araya had rattled the

crossbar, they earned an 89th-minute penalty and a golden opportunity

to grab a point.

However, Escobar – the man fouled– slipped on his run-up and sent a

wayward kick high and well wide.

Credit: FIFA

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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