The defending champions of the WAFU Zone B U-20 championship, the Black Satellites exited the ongoing tournament after a frustrating 2-1 defeat to the Young Stallions of Burkina Faso at the Stade Général Seyni Kountche, Niamey on Saturday.
The Burkinabes scored twice through Moussa Ky and Abdel Rachid Zagre, in the 33rd and 90th minutes, respectively, before substitute Alex Sarfo grabbed Ghana’s lone goal seconds before the first half break.
The Satellites earlier suffered a 2-0 defeat to Nigeria and were eager to tame the Burkinabes who drew 2-2 in their opening game against Nigeria, to book a semi-final spot.
That gave them a point and could have sailed through with a share of the points.
The Satellites started well and went close in the fourth minute as Abdul Razak Abdullah’s powerful shot from the edge of the penalty box was blocked and cleared out of danger.
In the 12th minute, Burkina Faso’s skipper Abdel Rachid Zagre failed to direct his header through to Moussa Ky’s cross as they missed another glorious opportunity.
After 15 minutes of play, Emmanuel Annor’s strike was tipped off by goalkeeper Philippe Mare, after he was set up by skipper Zubairu Ibrahim.
Ghana went probing again for the opener but Annor’s strike was too feeble and was cleared off the line.
The Satellites continued to dominate the exchanges and created the best chances which they failed to utilise as Collins Boah missed again from a free kick opportunity just before the water break.
Against the run of play, Burkina Faso’s Moussa Ky gave the Young Stallions the lead in the 33rd minute when he scored from Yacouba Konate’s cross.
Bent on leveling before the break, Coach Karim Zito introduced Alex Sarfo and Mohaison Mahmoud, a substitution which paid off immediately as substitute Sarfo tapped in from a Zubairu Ibrahim’s cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Ghana kept the pressure on after recess but Collins Boah’s effort at goal was cleared as the Young Stallions massed up at the defensive area as they fought hard to gain a point.
They survived another Ghana scare in the 80th minute when goalkeeper Mare denied Mustapha Yakubu in the 70th minute.
The Burkinabes handed Ghana a late surprise in the 90th minute when skipper Abdel Rachid Zagre went past his marker and shot into the top right corner of Ghana’s goal, a lead they defended gallantly till the final whistle went.
FROM LINUS SIAW NARTEY, NIGER