The Black Maidens saw their dreams cruelly ended by a last minute goal in the quarter final
In injury time of a pulsating Quarter final played against Korea DPR in Irbid, the 15-year-old rushed off her line to defend a free kick, eventually committing a howler that gifted the 2008 champions a priceless opportunity to make the semi-final at the expense of the 2012 bronze medallists.
The Maidens, despite missing two key players – Rafiatu Alhassan Kulchire to illness and Grace Asantewaa to suspension - had the better start of the two teams though, controlling the game for the first 10 to 15 minutes at the almost empty Al Hassan International Stadium.
But by the 20th minute, they seemed exhausted by all the effort. The technically gifted Koreans took advantage and assumed ownership of the game’s pace and direction. Their efforts paid off just after the half hour mark when an attack down the right saw midfielder Pyon Un Gyong brought down by Gifty Acheampong in the box, earning a penalty. Striker Kim Pum Oui stepped up and picked out the right side of the net. leaving Massey rooted to her spot.
Coach Adotey’s Maidens, determined to prevent history from repeating itself – they went out in the quarter final stage two years ago in Costa Rica – put in the work in in a determined search for an equalizer, but the North Koreans were strong in defence and very threatening on the break, frustrating the hardworking Ghanaians.
The 81st minute however finally brought some good fortune for the ladies in white. An impressive innovation of technique from Philicity Asuako helped turn a seemingly innocuous corner into a goal. The ball seemed to have been cleared out of the Korean box when Asuako, from the edge of the box, unexpectedly kept it in the danger zone with an ambitious bicycle kick, the ball dipping for Gifty Acheampong to make amends for failing her teammates earlier in the game.
The agile Acheampong leapt to meet the ball with the back of her head, the ball flying in behind the on-rushing Korean goalie Ok Kum Ju to tie the score at one-all.
The Asians, crucially, would have the last say with literally the last kick of the game. Substitute Ja Un Yung, introduced by coach Jong Bok Sin in the 51st minute, turned up to slot in a goal mouth melee. It was in the wake of a free kick which had seen Massey mistakenly miss the ball, capping a tragic end to a difficult game in which the Ghanaians had worked their socks off to salvage.