An opportunistic goal from Alice Danso was enough to see Ghana's Black Maidens pull off quite a shock, beating much-fancied Brazil in Arima. The result throws Group D into an almighty battle ahead of the final matchday. All four teams are balanced on three points apiece and it will be all to play for on Monday.
Ghana, who lost their opening game against Canada, came out in defiant mood against fancied Brazil in their second contest. Beatrice Sesu tried a hopeful shot from out left that went well wide. With very few goal-scoring chances of note, the majority of the first half was played out in the midfield. Ghana were relying on long balls and the pace of their strikers while the Brazilians looked to build patiently with short passes.
After 22 minutes, the Ghanaians found themselves a goal to the good. Linda Addai’s strike from distance was fumbled by Brazilian goalkeeper Daniele and Alice Danso had the presence of mind and predatory instincts to follow up the shot and tap home the simplest of efforts. The Canarinhas seemed stunned by the set-back and had no answer to the talented Africans, who slowly began to take over possession in the middle of the park.
Kesewa Antwi had another chance for Ghana, but her shot from out wide on the right side hardly troubled Brazil’s goalkeeper. The South Americans – who scored 40 goals in qualifying – nearly pulled level in the fading moments of the opening period. Thais lined up a free-kick from 25 yards and slammed her dipping shot off the crossbar with Margaret Otoo well beaten.
The Brazilians were unable to find their rhythm in the second half, resorting to long-range shooting and other such desperate measures. Andressa’s try in the 50th minute never had Otoo worried, and the keeper collected the ball with ease. The Ghanaians continued to attack and fiercely contested every loose ball. Sesu went on a solo run in the 66th minute and her shot from distance just barely flew past the wrong side of the post.
In the last ten minutes of the match, Ghana’s net-minder kept her team in the lead. First she saved well from Glaucia in the 83rd minute and then, in the 90th, she somehow got off her line in time to deny Jucinara, who came rampaging through from a deep position. And after enduring five minutes of stoppage time, Ghana were able to celebrate their first win of these finals, and throw open the so-called ‘group of death’ in the process. When Ghana face the Irish and Brazil take on Canada in the final round of group matches, every team will have a realistic chance at progressing through to the quarter-finals.