Ghana’s Black Satellites sealed their place for the Libya 2011 Orange African Youth Championship after beating Benin 4-1 in the second leg of the final round qualifier on Saturday at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.
The Satellites thus qualified on a 6-1 score line on aggregate after winning the first leg by 2:0.
A brace from Richmond Boakye Yiadom and a goal each from Jordan Ayew and substitute Edwin Osei were enough to give the Satellites the right to defend the title they won in Rwanda last year.
The reigning continental and world champions were not very impressive though.
The Satellites started on a promising note and succeeded in taking a three goal lead at half time, but they gradually faded out with holding midfielder Afriyie Acquah serving as the brightest spot in the team throughout the game.
Acquah, who plies his trade with Italian outfit Palermo anchored the midfield which revolved around Boakye Yiadom, Ebo Andoh and Jordan Ayew, the youngest son of ex-Black Stars captain Abedi Pele Ayew.
The Satellites resorted to the use of the flanks where they had Frank Acheampong at the left and Andoh at the right and it paid dividends in the early stages.
Yiadom broke the deadlock on five minutes by finishing off a corner-kick before completing his brace two minutes later also from a header from close range.
On 14 minutes, Andoh during one of his raids upfront was fouled by Benin defender Gozo Brice in the penalty area for a spot kick, converted with ease by Ayew who capped his first goal in the national colours with a unique celebration, running to the inner perimeter to punch the air with a fist towards a section where his father Abedi sat in attendance.
The Beninois were however not industrious in attack and played as if there was nothing at stake, whilst the Satellites dipped in performance after scoring three goals.
The visitors’ best chance of the game came on the stroke of half time when central defender Bright Addai gifted Lanignan Daniel the ball after fumbling around his goal area, but with only goalkeeper Akwasi Acheampong at his mercy, the striker shot wide.
The Satellites had the upper hand in the early exchanges of the second half but had to wait till the 90th minute for substitute Osei to score the fourth goal to put the icing on the cake before Adjibade Ismaila grabbed a consolation goal for the Benin Junior Squirrels in added-on time.
Libya will host the final tournament from March 18 to April 1, 2011.
Ghana – Akwasi Acheampong, Richmond Nketia, Francis Morton, Karim Alhassan, Afriyie Acquah, Enoch Ebo Andoh/Kwame Nsor, Jordan Ayew/Salifu Amidu, Richmond Boakye Yiadom, Mahatma Otoo/Edwin Osei, Frank Acheampong.
Benin – Steve Rodrigue, Ahovey Nestor, Gantin Olympe, Gozo Brice, Akpome Benoit, Salifou Kamara Dine, Tchato Giscard, Lanignon Daniel, Oussou Antonin/Adjibade Ismaila, Abdel Fadel, Soffo Salia.