BLACK SATELLITES’ World Cup campaign was ended after a surprise 3-0 defeat by Mali in Wellington.
The Black Satellites who have always reached the semi-finals under coach Sellas Tetteh, this time exited the competition in the knockout round.
Ghana made three changes to the starting line up. Tetteh opted for Patrick Kpozo for the suspended Patrick Asmah at left back, while Osei Barnes and Emmanuel Boateng took the places of Asiedu Attobrah and Benjamin Tetteh.
After coming up tops in their group campaign, Ghana looked poised to advance but a 29th minute goal by Diadie Samassekou set the Young Eagles up for their big win.
Down by a goal after the opening 45 minutes, Ghana headed into the break looking to overcome a first half which saw few chances, though Mali perhaps shaded proceedings, certainly in terms of opportunities created.
The Black Satellites, who beat the Young Eagles to take third spot at the CAF U-20 Championships in Senegal returned from the break eager to redeem themselves.
However, it was not going to be the easiest of tasks against a stronger Mali side in the ascendency.
Mali doubled their lead before the hour mark through Gbakle Dieudonne.
Ghana continued to chase the game but the Malians put the proceedings beyond the Black Satellites when Aboubabacar Doumbia scored to give Mali a suprise 3-0 win.
Coach Sellas Tetteh’s side who were tipped as one of the favourites for the tournament now face a disappointing exit from the competition.
Mali on the other hand will face either Germany or Nigeria in Christchurch for their quarter-finals tie.
Meanwhile, coach Sellas Tetteh believes numerous costly errors ended his side’s World Cup campaign in New Zealand.
Tetteh, who led the Black Satellites to win the 2009 tournament in Egypt, saw his charges being outclassed by a mature Les Aigles side.
The former Rwanda national team coach also admitted his side were bridesmaids on the afternoon as Mali showed more conviction and belief.
“First of all I’d like to congratulate my fellow coach from Mali and his team, who deserved their place in the quarter-finals today, but of course I’m also extremely disappointed,” Tetteh said in a post-match interview.
“We simply didn’t settle into our game, and in the last third in particular we just lacked ideas and creativity. We also made too many unnecessary mistakes in our build-up play, and our opponents severely punished us for that. Mali were the better team today.
“You’re always going to lose a match where every 50/50 ball lands at the feet of your opposition.”