Africa: Penalties Send Ghana to Total U-20 Afcon Semis

Goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim was the hero saving one penalty while another came rattling off the crossbar as Ghana beat Cameroon 4-2 on post match penalties in Nouakchott on Thursday to qualify for the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-finals.

The game was forced to penalties after a 1-1 stalemate in regular and extra time and the Ghanaians proved to be the better on penalties, beating the fancied young Indomitable Lions.

Cameroon's Goni Ali hit the crossbar with the fourth spot kick while Kevin Prince Mila saw his penalty saved by Danlad as the Ghanaians booked a slot in the last four.

Daniel Afriyie, Frank Kwabena, Ivan Anokye and Percious Boah scored Ghana's penalties while Cameroon's two were scored by Saidou Alioum and Saidou Ibrahim.

Substitutes Etienne Eto'o and Milla had combined to give Cameroon a 1-0 lead in the first period of added time, but substitute Frank Boateng equalized for the Ghanaians just 70 seconds later.

Both teams approached the game with their handbrakes on and despite the opening half lacking much in pace and explosiveness, there were some chances created.

Ghana's dangerman Abdul Fatawu Issahaku had a chance with a long range freekick just four minutes in, but it didn't gather enough power as it calmly rolled into the goalkeeper's waiting gloves. On the other end Cameroon's Alioum had an effort with a shot from distance which went wide.

A good passing move at the edge of the box almost opened up Ghana's first real threat at goal when Patrick Mensah played Daniel Afriyie through, but the latter's turn inside the box was meant with a strong shield from Cameroon skipper Belanof Meyapya.

Boah was lined up next with an aim at goal, skipper Afriyie setting him up but from the edge of the box, he could only watch as his shot comfortably sailed into the keeper's path.

Cameroon had a good quality chance on the half hour mark but Bemol Apam failed to cleanly make a heavy contact on the ball when Nchindo John Bosco's corner evaded everyone inside the box and fell into his path.

Ghana came close again six minutes to the break, Afriyie volleying the ball over after a Cameroonian defensive header attempting to clear out Emmanuel Essiam's freekick fell kindly on his way inside the box.

At the start of the second half, Cameroon made changes, Apam and Nchindo coming off for Kevin Prince Milla and Abdoulaye Yahaya. The young Indomitable Lions were forced into a change when top striker Sunday Jang Junior had to be stretchered off after going down for the second time in the game.

In his place, coach Ousmanou Christophe brought in midfielder Yanike Tenkou, with Marc Atangana being pushed upfield to partner Milla in attack.

The Ghanaians also responded with a change, Mathew Cudjoe coming off just after winning a freekick in a dangerous position and in his place came Frank Boateng. From the set piece, Ghana almost broke the deadlock but Cameroon keeper made a brilliant save to pluck the ball off the top right corner off a well taken Boah freekick.

Cameroon's best chance came in the 70th minute when Yahaya's shot after finding space inside the box was cleared off the line by Uzair Alhassan, with the keeper well beaten. They had another chance few moments later, Alioum doing dome good work on the left to deliver a low cross into the box, but Milla's connection was wide.

With the clock ticking and the need for a goal, Cameroon made another change, Etienne Eto'o coming on for Atangana.

Ghana were forced to make a change late on with Mensah coming off injured and Emmanuel Agyemang taking his place. Ghana almost provided a last minute source of jubilation but Fatawu's low strike from his favorite left foot evaded the target by a whisker.

With no winner in regular time, the game was stretched into an extra 30 minutes.

Cameroon took the lead in the 102nd minute when Mila rose highest inside the box to head home an Etienne corner. But, the lead lasted only 70 seconds with Ghana equalizing through Boateng after the Cameroonian backline went to sleep straight from the restart.

At the start of the second period of added time Ghana brought in some fresh legs, Fatawu and Essiam being rested for Joselpho Barnes and James Ampofo, both strikers. But, the game didn't have more goals and headed to penalties.

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