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Ghana lost on penalties for the second time in four days to miss out on qualification to the 2020 Olympic Games.

It would have been the first time since 2004 that the Meteors would have made the multisport event.

This time, they failed to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games after losing the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations third-place playoff to South Africa.

Ibrahim Tanko’s side, who were beaten on penalties by Ivory Coast in the semi-final on Tuesday, suffered another penalty heartbreak as the South Africans won 6-5, after the game ended 2-2 after extra time.

South Africa thus join the Ivory Coast and Egypt as Africa’s representatives for the Olympic Games. Ghana have to wait for another four years.

Black Meteors started the brighter of the two sides. Yeboah took advantage of a scuffle in the box and unleashed a powerful drive but the ball was deflected over the crossbar.

Thereafter, South Africa took control and started dominating proceedings. Their dominance yielded the opening goal in the 15th minute when Ghana defender deflected a low cross from into his own net.

South Africans continue to dictate play and had a couple of decent opportunities to increase their tally the indecisiveness on the part of their forwards worked against them. Their striker Lyle Foster hit the crossbar with a fine header on the stroke of halftime.

Five minutes after the break, Evans Mensah drew the Black Meteors level. The former Inter Allies winger took the ball and unleashed a powerful shot from long range which swerved past goalkeeper Mondly Mpoto and into the net.

Ghana could have doubled their lead on 58 minutes. Kwabena Owusu had only the goalkeeper to beat but Mpoto came out quickly and made the block.

But the South Africans responded immediately. Two minutes after the hour mark, the substitute Kamohelo Mhlatsi who barely spent a minute on the pitch restored their lead, when he received Lyle Foster’s pass to send a scorcher inside the Ghanaian net.

And when it looked all set for South Africa’s win, Ghana scored a late equalizer. Evans Mensah rounded his marker and sent a cross that fell to substitute Samuel Obeng who made no mistake to score and restore parity yet again five minutes from time. The game was sent directly to a penalty shootout to determine the winner.

The shootout saw both sides missing twice, before South Africa’s goalkeeper Mpoto saved Michael Agbekpornu kick to send his side to Tokyo.


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