Ghana’s Olympic soccer team, the Black Meteors, failed to make it to the final of the ongoing Africa U-23 Cup of Nations after losing 3-2 on penalties to neighbours Ivory Coast.
The two sides had battled to a 2-2 draw after full regulation time but it was the Ivorians who came out luckier in the penalty shoot-outs.
Despite the loss, the Meteors have another chance of making it to the 2020 Olympic Games as they play in the 3rd place play-offs on Friday.
The Ivorians, winners of Group B which had South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia, began the game at the Cairo International Stadium on a flying note as Youssouf Dao was played onside to beat Kwame Baah in the 13th minute.
The Elephants dominated play in the first half coming close to extending their lead on numerous occasions.
But as strong as they have been in the second half in previous games, the Black Meteors clinched the much-needed equaliser after six minutes from the break.
A throw-in found Samuel Obeng, whose cross located skipper Yaw Yeboah in the penalty box.
The former Manchester City midfielder made no mistake as he fired into the low left corner of the opponents’ goal.
Dao’s man-of-the-match performance came to bear in the 85th minute as he dived swiftly to direct a header into Baah’s goal.
With the game heading to a straight win for the Ivorians, first-half substitute Kwabena Owusu straggled his way into the penalty box.
After the referee ignored calls for an infringement against him, the super-sub scooped the ball back into the path of Evans Mensah, who found the second equaliser for the Meteors.
The goal forced the match into extra-time, which produced no goals.
The resultant shootouts saw the Black Meteors missing three of their kicks and scored two while the Ivorians missed one and scored three.
While the Ivorians await the winner of the Egypt-South Africa semi-final game for Friday’s final, Ghana await the loser to fight for a place in men’s soccer for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana