By Sportswriter Lu Yuchen
BAKU, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- China swallowed bitter moon cakes in their traditional Mid-Autumn festival on Sunday, losing to Ghana 2-0 and a chance to advance in their decisive Group D match of the U-17 Women's World Cup.
China was the overnight group leader with four points, bettering Germany on goal difference, while Ghana was on third with three points. A draw in the last group match could almost secure a quater-final berth for China if Uruguay, which lost nine goals in two defeats, could not make a upset when facing Germany.
The game was kicked off at 17:00 local time when Ghana chose the shadow side to avoid facing direct strong sunlights.
"Of course the side is important. That's why we lost our first goal," said Chinese head coach Zhang Chonglai. "We are lack of luck today."
Jane Ayieyam, who had a goal in each matches, failed to score in the 14th minute, but managed to amend her shot on the bar 4 minutes later when facing Chinese empty gate with goalie Lu Feifei falling on the ground.
Error-stumbled China created 5 shots in the first half, half less than Ghana's 12 shots, with only 1 shot on goal.
The shadow of 8KM Stadium roof marched over to eastern side of halfway line when the second half started 63 minutes later. China tried to attack more to pile pressures on their Africa opponents. However, Ayieyam's 88 minute goal crushed China's hope for a level.
"It's our first time to enter U-17 Women's World Cup finals. This game is important. Every player knew it. Maybe girls are getting too nervous to perform their best," said Chinese Zhang Chonglai after the match.
After Czech referee Jana Adamkova whistled the end of the match, girls of both sides fell and lay on the ground, hands covering their faces, tears spreading through their fingers -- one for sad, one for thrill.
"Ghana has never gone that far," said Ghana head coach Mas-Ud Dramani. The best Ghana had ever done was qualifying for the finals of the two previous competitions. Ghana will face powerhouse Japan in quarterfinals five days later, but Dramani said they would not play with "over-respects".