New Delhi: Ghana's speed, tenacity, and skill not just outclassed India but hushed the roar of a 52,614-strong crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here, on Thursday with a 4-0 win over the hosts, who bowed out of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, finishing bottom of Group A with three defeats. (IND vs GHA – As it happened...)
The Indians gave the strong Ghana outfit a run for their money in the first half and kept them under check until the 43rd minute when visiting skipper Eric Ayiah broke the deadlock.
Ayiah then gave his side a cushion in the 52nd minute, after which the African side upped their attacking intent resulting in two more goals.
Richard Danso (86th) and Emmanuel Toku (87th) scored within a minute of each other to put India out of the match, and the tournament.
The big win helped Ghana go through to the Round of 16 as Group A toppers. Colombia finished second after beating USA 3-1 in their last match. The US team now waits to know their fate as four best third-placed teams also go through to the next round.
All three teams had six points but were separated by goal difference.
India lost to USA 0-3 in their first match, before giving their best performance of the tournament in a 1-2 defeat against Colombia.
The gulf of difference between India and Ghana on Thursday was not just evident in the scoreline but also on the field.
The Indian team looked tired in the last ten minutes, almost waiting for the final whistle. In short, they were exhausted, and De Matos mentioned it in his own unique way, though with a bit of exaggeration, in the post-match press conference.
“Ghana can play eight games after this, but we can't play another one right now,” De Matos replied to a question on the difference in fitness levels of the two teams.
“If this game was against Maldives, Nepal or Bhutan, it would have been fantastic,” he added.
The tournament may have ended in three defeats, but Indian football surely added fans in bulk.