Substitute Ja Un Yong delivered the last minute blow that has seen North Korea knockout Ghana from the ongoing FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 with a 2-1 victory in the quarter-final.
The Black Maidens, who were aiming to surpass their record of being the only African nation to have made it to the semi-final of the biennial tournament fought a really good fight against the tournament’s most successful team in spite of many not giving them a chance, but only got their hearts broken at the last moment.
With the weight of Africa on their young shoulders, the Black Maidens of Ghana posed the first threat of the match from a Cecilia Hagan freekick which went wide. Then action swung into their own half where Philicity Asuako had to head a shot from North Korea’s Ko Kyong Hui out of danger.
The resulting corner which evolved from Choe Un Chong’s short pass to Ko Kyong Hui saw Kim Pom Ui make an effort at goal but it was successfully blocked by Asuako, again.
As the match gradually progressed both sides continued to display solidity in defence, failing to utilise their corners and freekicks of which North Korea had more.
Ghana striker, Adizatu Mustapha connected with Midfielder, Grace Acheampong’s corner but North Korea’s goalkeeper, Ok Kum Ju was well placed to gather her weak shot. while at the other end, Kim Jong Sim could only watch as her long range shot landed nicely in Kayza Massey’s waiting palms.
However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 33rd minute after Grace Acheampong brought down Pyon Un-Gong in the penalty area and Pom Ui went on to convert the resulting penalty, leaving Ghana’s goalkeeper, Massey, looking confused.
And to celebrate, North Korean players had their arms stretched out as they soared like Eagles, leading 1-0 till half time.
Few minutes into the second half, an equalizer almost came for Evans Adotey’s Black Maidens as Grace Acheampong found Blessing Agbomadzi inside the 18, but Agbomadzi’s right footed shot could not find the back of the net.
Captain of the Black Maidens, Sandra Owusa-Ansah did find herself in good stead to have levelled the score at least twice but her efforts could not find the right answer.
But Ghana eventually found their breakthrough in the 81st minute when Gifty Acheampong headed in a brilliant Philicity Asuako overhead kick.
However, just when it seemed like the match was headed for extra time, substitute Ja Un Yong scored off a freekick for North Korea in the final minute, marking not just the end of the road for Ghana but the end of the road for Africa.
North Korea will now face Venezuela in the first semi-final on October 17 at the King Abdullah II International Stadium.