Ghana wins U20 World Cup final

Ghana held on with 10 men to beat Brazil in a penalty shoot-out to become the first African team to win the Under-20 World Cup on Friday and end a decade of South American dominance.

The final finished 0-0 after extra time at Cairo International Stadium, and Ghana’s Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu scored the winning penalty to make it 4-3 after Brazil’s Maicon missed a chance to win it at 3-2.

Agyemang-Badu’s confident shot uncorked wild scenes of jubilation by Ghana’s players and staff, and their fans among the 68 000-strong crowd. Agyemang-Badu peeled off his shirt and thumped his chest as Brazil’s dejected players fell to the ground in disbelief.

After the new champions draped in the country’s flag received the trophy, they returned to the field to continue jumping up and down in joy.

Another shootout decided third place, when Hungary beat Costa Rica 2-0 after their match finished 1-1.

Ghana defender Daniel Addo was sent off in the 37th minute for a late tackle on Alex Teixeira as he ran through midfield.

Despite the man advantage for nearly an hour, Brazil wasted chances and struggled to break down the tenacious defence of Ghana’s Black Satellites.

In the shoot-out, Alan Kardec confidently scored Brazil’s first kick, while Ghana captain Andre Ayew did the same.

After Brazil goalkeeper Rafael saved poor penalties from defenders Jonathan Mensah and Bright Addae, Maicon stepped up to the spot with a chance to give Brazil its fifth tournament win.

But Maicon hesitated and sent his shot high over.

Then Dominic Adiyiah buried his chance past Rafael, Alex Teixeira’s kick was saved, and Agyemang-Badu struck home for Ghana to become the first champion from outside South America since Spain in 1999.

Brazil had pressured early on, with Teixeira hitting a cross from Paulo Henrique over the crossbar, Dalton forcing a save from goalkeeper Daniel Agyei and Teixiera also testing Agyei after being
set up by striker Alan Kardec.

Ghana was reduced to 10 men when Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere showed Addo a straight red, even though his foul on Teixeira was late rather than malicious.

After the break, Brazil played short passes and made Ghana do the running, and Brazil almost scored when Giuliano’s header bounced off a Ghana defender.

Kardec should have done better in the 58th when he headed Souza’s cross straight into Agyei’s arms, and shortly after the tall striker capped a sprint down the left by hitting a low shot into the side netting.

With Ghana’s tired right flank becoming vulnerable, Brazil substitute Douglas Costa found Kardec with another cross, but Kardec headed over and Souza poked a shot wide as the favourites continued to squander chances.

Ghana defended stubbornly and with great determination, but the supply line to tournament top scorer Adiyiah was easily cut off by Brazil’s midfield.

Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh then withdrew his other striker, Ransford Osei, midway through the second half to strengthen his midfield. Captain Andre Ayew lasted the whole match despite twisting his ankle days earlier in the semifinal against Hungary, and struck Ghana’s first penalty in the shoot-out.

Agyei made a brilliant point-blank save from Brazil substitute Maicon in the first period of extra time, after a quick burst down the left from Costa.

His save from Teixeira in the shootout was even more crucial. – Sapa-AP

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