Ghana beat China 2-0 to recover from an opening game defeat and reach the Azerbaijan 2012 quarter-finals after a Jane Ayieyam double.
Coming into the game China’s technical style had looked the more accomplished, but buoyed by their 5-0 win over Uruguay, Ghana took the game to the Asian side.
Playing a quicker game and pressing well, the Black Maidens took an early lead through Ayieyam. Taking down Fatima Alhassan’s deep cross superbly, Ayieyam’s resulting effort hit the bar, but she was on hand to tap in the rebound.
As China failed to implement their more intricate style of play in a packed midfield, Alhassan forced Lu Feifei into two superb full-length saves to keep her side in touch.
In a late first half rally, China’s best chances of the half fell to Miao Siwen, first skewing a header wide, then wastefully firing over after showing quick feet in the box.
After the break the game deflated somewhat, with Ghana happy to sit on a result that would take them through, with China struggling to break through a packed final third.
As the game ground into something of a stalemate Feifei had to be on her toes to prevent Sherifatu Sumaila’s cross dipping under the bar with 15 minutes to go. As the game went on Ayieyam was the only player brining any impetus to the Black Maidens.
Fittingly it was she who sealed the game for Ghana with her second goal, breaking free in a one-woman counter-attack before slotting calmly under Feifei.
Ghana will face Japan on Friday 5 October.
"We suffered from the universal problem that befalls all Chinese national teams, we were in a very good position but we were unable to see out until the end of the group." Zhang Chonglai, China coach