Ghana have ended their group stage campaign at the ongoing Wafu B Cup of Nations in Benin with a 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast but will still progress to the next round of the competition courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Nigeria on the last matchday.
Kouadio N’Guessan’s second-half free-kick proved the separating factor at Stade de Gaules in Porto Novo on Saturday.
The Black Satellites ultimately finished second in a three-team group, setting up a semi-final date with Niger.
The 2009 world champions had already booked the qualification to the next round of the championship before Saturday’s last group game, having amassed vital three points in their first game against archrivals Nigeria.
Ghana coach Abdul Karim Zito made five changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s game, bringing on Alhassan Uzair, Ivon Anokye, Huda Issah, Emmanuel Agyemang Duah and Abanga Sumaila who took the place of suspended lead striker Precious Boah.
In the end, it was N’Guessan’s free-kick that proved the all-important factor, his side finishing top of Group B to set up a meeting with Burkina Faso in the semi-final.
The Wafu B Championship serves as qualifiers for the 2021 Africa U20 Cup of Nations, with the two finalists in Benin securing participation tickets for the continental gathering in Mauritania.
The African event will inturn serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Fifa U20 World Cup in Indonesia, the four semi-finalists are set to represent the continent at the global gathering.
Ghana have set their sights on going all the way to play at the World Cup for the first time since 2015 when they reached the round of 16 in New Zealand.
In 2017, the Black Satellites failed to qualify for the African champion while in 2019, they fell short at the group stage of the continental gathering, failing to pick one of the four available World Cup qualification tickets.
Zito’s outfit is three-time champions of the U20 Afcon, winning the cup in 1993, 1999 and 2009 where they went on to rule the world.