Two first half goals against the run of play from Joseph Attamah and Ebenezer Assifuah gave the Black Satellites a two- goal lead at halftime, before a 78th minute strike from Frank Acheampong sealed third place for the Ghanaians.
The game started in a fairly calm manner as both sides looked to seize up their opponents. Iraq, who were the far more adventurous of the two sides, looked to want the result more but wave after wave of attack met steely resistance from the Ghanaian defence boosted by the return of first choice centre backs Lawrence Lartey and Joseph Attamah.
The Iraqi's constant pressing off the ball was causing the Ghanaian defence all sorts of problems, with Princebell Addico, who had moved back to right-back, and Moses Odjer’s various forced errors putting the Ghanaian defence under some serious pressure. It was the Ghanaians, however, who got the opener in the 34th minute though Attamah who got the opener with a glancing header from a Moses Odjer corner after getting ahead of Hameed.
The Satellites almost got a second a minute later as a good defensive tackle set them away on the counter attack, Hameed though did enough to scramble Assifuah’s effort from range away for another corner. The Iraqi’s dominance in the game continued after that though and they were unlucky to still trail as the half neared an end. They were hit by a sucker punch late in the half as the Ghanaians doubled their lead on the stroke of halftime through Assifuah who found himself with the ball on the edge by a stroke of luck but made the best of it going past his markers to create space for the shot before powering his effort across the face of Hameed‘s goal for his sixth goal of the tournament.
The Iraqi’s started the second half as they had played the whole game, hammering away at the resolute Ghanaian defence but only causing one real nervy moment for Richard Ofori in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Attamah and Lartey were still required to be on their best form, however, as Ali Adnan and co. looked to exploit every lapse in concentration, with Adnan, who but for a timely interception from Lartey, almost created a chance out of nothing in the 56th minute.
Mohammed Hameed almost gifted Ghana an opening in the 70th minute as he was caught with the ball outside the box by Aboagye but the occasionally unconventional keeper did enough to prevent the Ghanaians from making the best of it.
The Iraqi defence were at their best to prevent a third in the minute as a dangerous ball across the face of goal was cleared off the line with Assifuah lurking. The Satellites did get their third a minute later, Acheampong latching onto a well weighted defence splitting ball from Aboagye before lifting his effort over the on rushing Hameed and into the net.
The Ghanaians held on to see out the result and will be pleased with their podium finish despite the disappointment of not winning the ultimate.
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