Mali’s Under-17s asserted their dominance over Ghana again on Wednesday as they left it late to snatch a 2-1 victory in a pre-World Cup warm-up game in Abu Dhabi.
The Eaglets started the game with eight players from their Afcon final starting lineup whilst Ghana had seven from the squad which lost that game starting. Coach Paa Kwasi Fabin introduced new faces like Gideon Mensah, Mohammed Aminu, Isaac Gyamfi and Ibrahim Sadiq to complete his setup.
And it was the Black Starlets who drew first blood through captain Eric Ayiah. The striker hit home on 13 minutes and that was all the first half of the encounter could produce at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Sports Stadium.
After the break, Ghana came up with a new set of 11 players while the Malians made five substitutions.
The changes benefitted the Black Starlets who dominated the game and created numerous chances including being denied by the crossbar.
Against the run of play, Mali pegged back through Lassana Ndiaye in the 67th minute. The match thereafter became a very stale affair with the Ghanaian players seeking to protect their legs against the marauding Malians.
A defensive blunder from the Starlets, two minutes into additional time, led to Hadji Drame scoring a late winner for Mali. 2-1 the friendly ended in favour of coach Jonas Kokou Komla’s boys.
Three players – Abdul Razak Yusif, Evans Sarfo and Emmanuel Antwi from Ghana’s 25 currently in camp could not feature in the game.
Coach Paa Kwasi Fabin is expected to drop four players from the squad and submit his final 21 to Fifa on Thursday.
Ghana will play another friendly on Sunday. The Black Starlets will leave their Abu Dhabi base to face the Under-17 team of the UAE in Dubai. Kickoff is at 13:30 GMT.