New Delhi, Oct 12: India ended their campaign on a poor note, suffering a heavy 0-4 defeat to Gha in their last Group A match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Thursday.
Gha skipper Eric Ayiah (43rd, 52nd minutes) struck a brace, bulging the net on either side of the break before Richard Danso (86th) and Emmanuel Toku (87th) scored in quick succession towards the end.
Gha finished the group stage with six points from three matches. They took the top spot in the group due to a superior goal difference ahead of the US and Colombia who also finished with six points each.
India ended their maiden appearance at a football World Cup in any age group without opening their account and only one goal to show for their efforts.
Gha domited right from the start but were held at bay by some tough, stubborn defending by the Indians.
The home team however, ran out of ideas in the fil third, showing a distinct lack of composure when in possession and committed a lot of missed passes and errors as a result, losing the ball easily.
Lack of combition and poor awareness upfront repeatedly saw Indian players in possession but with no team mates in good positions to pass to.
Their job was made even tougher by a well-organised Gha defence which allowed them very little time and space, while showcasing excellent skills, tactical awareness and athletic ability.
Gha right winger Sadiq Ibrahim was a constant threat down the flanks with his speed and accurate balls into the Indian pelty box.
Rashid Alhassan was also excellent on the left wing and Ayiah in the centre had a constant stream of excellent passes and crosses as he used his superb technique and dribbling skills to trouble the Indian defence.
Only some desperate defending by the hosts prevented them from conceding more goals.
Central defenders Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh put in a tireless performance for India.
To their credit, the Indians tried really hard to impose a threat on the rival citadel despite the clear difference in class and quality.
They repeatedly tried to attack down the flanks in their effort to push back the Gha defence.
Ayiah found the net for Gha in the sixth minute but his effort was ruled offside.
Indian defender Boris Thangjam was brought down early in the 14th minute, to allow Sanjeev Stallin take a hit on the goal through free-kick. But Stallin failed to make the most of the early opportunity.
Gha wingers Ibrahim and Alhassan created good chances from their long-range effort but India goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem stood tall to keep the ball away on every occasion.
Uble to penetrate through the Indian defence, Issac Gyamfi took a long-range effort in the 28th minute only to see the ball sail over the cross-bar.
Gha looked to play more through their flanks, but the Indian goalkeeper stood firm in between disallowing the opponents any opportunity.
The constant pressure by Gha filly took its toll towards the end of the first half as Ayiah broke the deadlock, making a superb run from his own half before scoring off the rebound when Indian goalkeeper blocked a pass from Ibrahim. IANS