Match: Ghana (U20) v Panama (U20)
Date: Friday, June 5
The Black Satellites face Panama in the early hours of Friday morning, fully aware that they have their destinies in their own hands. No calculator business, hopefully.
Although a win of any kind will qualify Ghana for the next stage of the competition, the team would know that a win devoid of the heart-stopping nature of last Tuesday’s victory will be much appreciated.
Barring any last minute injuries are expected to be unchanged from the side that beat Argentina.
Team coach Sellas Tetteh is expected to continue in the same 4-4-1-1 or 4-1-3-1-1 shape with Godfred Donsah anchoring the midfield and Clifford Aboagye pulling the strings from a deep lying midfield position.
Schemer and the team’s top scorer, Yaw Yeboah will play behind striker Benjamin Tetteh with Asiedu Attobrah and WAFA’s Samuel Tetteh providing the width.
Tetteh has been impressive so far, keeping Inter Allies Prosper Kassim on the bench.
Kingsley Fobi is expected to start ahead of team captain Owusu Bempah at right back with Patrick Asmah at left back. Emmanuel Ntim and Inter Allies will continue as the center back pairing.
Red Bull’s Salzburg Lawrence Ati Zigi will start in goal.
Sellas Tetteh, Ghana coach
The first couple of matches at a tournament are always tough. We analysed the Austria game in detail and did a much better job today. Our minimum target is still to reach the semi-finals, and it won’t be difficult to achieve that if we can continue to deliver the kind of performance we produced [on Tuesday]. I’m very happy with today’s match. I was particularly pleased with Samuel Tetteh – but football is and will always be a team effort.
Their Argentine coach Leandro Pipino is also expected to make two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Austria on Tuesday.
Captain Chin Hormechea and midfielder Luis Pereira will miss the game after both were red carded in their last game. They are set to be replaced by Shaquille Coronado and Edwin Samms respectively.
Leandro Pipino will set his team up in a 4-3-3 possession based formation which has served his team well throughout the qualifiers.
Left back, Fidel Escobar who is the team’s top scorer with two goals was a thorn in the flesh of both Argentina and Austria with his power and strong overlapping runs.
Asiedu Attobrah will have to put in an extra defensive shift to ensure that Escobar’s strengths are curtailed.
Jhamal Rodgriguez who scored a screamer against Argentina will also have to be watched closely as he is the main creative force for Panama with his incisive passing and distribution.
The key battle for this game will be down the flanks. Panama are vulnerable down the flanks defensively but very effective offensively there.
Their defensive frailties have been highlighted as the team have conceded two out of the four goals from crosses with the other two being set pieces. Coach Tetteh and his boys should make good use of Tetteh and Attobrah in this regard.
Leonardo Pipino, Panama coach
“I’m proud of my team today despite the defeat. We gave it our all and never gave up even when we down to nine men. Naturally our goalkeeper [Jaime de Gracia] deserves particular praise for writing his name in the history books and saving two penalties – unbelievable. Of course we wanted to win and that will still be our aim against Ghana. We’ll never give up, and that’s what makes us so strong.”
Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Kweku Arhin & Gary Al-Smith
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