Sports Mole's live coverage of Spain against Ghana from Group A of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.
By Liam Power, Reporter Filed: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 18:30 UK
Last Updated: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 22:41 UK
Spain went into tonight's Group B clash with Ghana looking to secure safe passage to the knockout stages of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup
Ghana needed a positive result to boost their chances of progressing to the latter stages but fell behind early on, with Jese breaking the deadlock after strong approach play from Denis Suarez.
The Black Satellites fought bravely in the second half and pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, but eventually fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of La Roja.
Look back at a hard-fought success for Julen Lopetegui's men with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.
6.33pmEvening international football fans. Thanks for joining Sports Mole as our comprehensive coverage of the Under-20 World Cup continues with a Group B clash between Spain and Ghana.
6.36pmSpain justified their billing as pre-tournament favourites with an impressive start to the tournament last weekend, cruising past the USA in a 4-1 success. Julen Lopetegui's side will secure a place in the knockout stages with a win tonight, as they look to edge France for top spot in Group B.
6.39pmGhana fought bravely in their opening match but ultimately succumbed to an experienced France side, who ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Coach Sellas Tetteh will know that only a positive result tonight keeps them in the tournament, with the Black Satellites pitched against possibly the two best sides at this competition in a brutal pair of opening Group B fixtures.
6.42pmI expect Ghana boss Teteh to make changes this evening, particularly to a defence that made a whole host of errors against France in their first match. Spain meanwhile are likely to stick with Suso and Jese in advanced positions after the pair both bagged a brace against the United States on Friday.
6.45pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! The starting XI's for both sides are in from the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, with Ghana making three key changes in search of a victory. A full look at both tonight's teams will follow in just a few moments.
6.52pmIn total Ghana have made four changes for tonight's crucial encounter, with Boakya rewarded for his late goal against France with a starting berth. Seidu Salifu and Clifford Aboagye also get a chance to prove their worth in central midfield, with vice captain Michael Anaba dropped to the bench.
6.54pmSpain stick with what is effectively a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Suso, Deulofeu and Denis Suarez all given licence to support Jese in attack.
6.56pmEarlier this afternoon France and the USA played out a 1-1 draw in today's other Group A match, with a side featuring Paul Pogba now top of the group with 4 points from two games. Spain will leapfrog the French by avoiding defeat tonight, while Ghana must claim at least a draw to realistically keep their chances of finishing in the top two alive.
6.58pmWith the national anthems complete in Istanbul there is time for me to register a fairly unremarkable prediction ahead of tonight's crucial Group A clash. Ghana desperately need the points but I don't think their defence can withstand a Spain attack full of creativity. Liverpool winger Suso should shine once more for Spain, with Lopetegui's side able to claim a 2-1 success.
3 minSpain get us underway at a virtually empty stadium that normally hosts Turkish giants Galatasaray, shooting from left to right. La Roja are quick to settle in possession, with Suso getting an early touch inside his own half.
6 minManchester City youngster Suarez is brought down in the final third by a trip from Nketiah, giving Deulofeu an early chance to cross from the free kick. His attempt to find Suso short is a disappointment, with too much power on the pass spoiling a move clearly devised on the training ground.
9 minNketiah is warned by the referee after a second foul in as many minutes, this time clipping Oliver around 25 yards from goal. Antwi just about deals with Deulofeu's free kick but in a bizarre way, parrying the ball high into the air before climbing to catch the rebound. Ghana are unsurprisingly finding possession difficult to come by in these early exchanges.
12 minDeulofeu finds space in-behind as Ghana switch off defending a throw, with the winger's lofted cross just evading a late run from Suarez at the far post. The Black Satellites are able to win a free kick when play resumes, with Seidu Salifu's forward pass cut out by Derik.
15 minBabu drives forward from full-back from Ghana, winning a free kick just outside the penalty after being brought down cynically under a challenge from Saul. Boakye wins the battle to take the free kick but his effort lacks conviction, travelling tamely over the crossbar from 20 yards.
20 minA clinical Spain counter has put the European's ahead early on, with Ghana's defence caught short by a clever forward burst from Suarez. The Manchester City playmaker drove inside the final third, beating Lartey with ease inside the penalty area. His precise pass towards Jese at the far post left the forward with an easy finish from close range, and he made no mistake to slam home his third goal of the tournament. Ruthless, effective football of the highest order from Loptegui's youngsters, who are now in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages.
23 minBaba makes another purposeful run down the wing, with his chipped cross easily taken by Sotres. At the other Spain launch a swift break through Deulofeu, who has a low strike stopped at the second attempt by a flapping Antwi. There is definitely more goals in this game given the open nature of the first 20 minutes.
26 minAboagye tries his luck from range and registers Ghana's first shot on target, forcing Sotres to palm a skimming drive clear before claiming the rebound. Yet again Spain counter in numbers with a rapid response, with Deulofeu's low effort from just inside the penalty area caught cleanly by Antwi.
29 minDuncan's long diagonal pass nearly catches Spain out of position in defence, with Aboagye just unable to make contact with an attempted volley at the far post. A direct approach looks Ghana's best route back into the match, with Baba showing pace and power on the far side.
32 minAcheampong should really better with a free strike at goal inside the penalty area, sending a tame effort towards goal after a well-worked move from the Black Satellites. Spain have just taken their foot off the accelerator a touch, but still carry a potent threat in the final third.
35 minGhana continue to press forward as a vital interception from Puerto denies Narh a free header at the near post. From the following corner kick Sortes comes and fails to claim but Spain are just able to scramble clear. This is much more like it from the African giants, as Nketiah wins another corner kick on the right wing.
38 minDeulofeu reminds the Ghana defence to be vigilant with a pacy burst forward, with Manquillo then stopping Baba's latest burst with a sliding challenge at the other end.
41 minAcheampong and Baba combine to win a corner kick for Ghana down the left wing, with Spain straight back under pressure after clearing thanks to a sloppy pass from Suso. A lovely through ball from Duncan then threatens to find Boakye inside the penalty area, but Sotres is alert to the danger and manages to claim under pressure.
44 minSpain regain control in the final third as Manquillo ventures forward, with the defender's pass across goal cleared behind by a vital block from Antwi. Deulofeu's corner is then met by a free header from Saul, but the downward effort hits a teammate and is scrambled clear by Ghana.
45 min+1Lartey gets the benefit of the doubt after standing his ground in a tussle with Jese inside the penalty area, with the referee deciding against a spot kick. Suarez then has time and space to pick his spot with a shot at the far post, but the playmaker blazes over from close range.
7.50pmAfter an end-to-end first period Spain are just 45 minutes away from sealing a place in the knockout stages, courtesy of that early strike from Jese. Ghana have fought their way back into the match and could be level if they were clinical with a pair of chances before the break.
7.53pmGhana have played with power and passion going forward, but continue to be undermined by moments of madness in defence. Goalkeeper Antwi looks prone to further errors, with Spain able to bide their time and counter as they hold a narrow advantage.
7.56pmJust a reminder that as things stand Spain will go top of Group A, with maximum points from Group A. Ghana will not be definitely eliminated if they fail to respond after the break, but with successive defeats their hopes of qualification will look increasingly bleak!
7.59pmGhana coach Tetteh should be full of positives in his half-time talk, with his side responding strongly to the early setback of conceding. Baba has been a strong outlet on the left flank, with Salifu and Acheampong also causing problems with powerful runs from deep. The Black Satellites need to maintain that momentum when play resumes and be more ruthless with the chances they do create.
8.02pmLopetegui will be urging his side to avoid complacency in the second period, after a relatively slack spell before the break. Deulofeu and Suarez looked superb on the break but were at times starved of service, quick passes to those two in wide areas are likely to cause problems late in the match.
47 minGhana get the match back underway, immediately looking to pick out Narh with a long diagonal that trickles harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
50 minSalifu has gone down in sheer agony under a late tackle from Saul, but is quick to get to his feet once the free kick is awarded. An embarrassing reaction from the midfielder, with Spain able to recover quickly as Jese wins a free kick after strong play to retain possession next to the corner flag.
53 minOliver and Suarez combine neatly in midfield for Spain, but Acheampong shows power to win back possession for Ghana with a sliding challenge. He then strides forward and is allowed to shoot from 30 yards, with his swerving central strike caught comfortably by Sotres.
56 minSUBSTITUTION: Spain have decided to make a surprising change that may be a sign of rotation, with an eye to the competition's latter stages. The goalscorer Jese is given a rest and replaced by Campana, who started the first match against America three days ago.
59 minCHANCE! Acheampong has spurned Ghana's best opening of the match by a mile, turning a header wide of the target from six yards. The midfielder was under pressure at the near post but should definitely have tested Sortes from close range, with Spain rather fortunate to get away with slack marking from the set piece.
62 minA breakdown in communications sees Suso and Oliver lose possession with options open inside the penalty area, with this match increasingly stretched. Ghana are quick to break forward and find Boakye, with the forward smashing over after beating his marker with a wonderful Cruyff turn.
65 minGhana just need more composure in the final third, with Narj typifying their rash approach with a wayward strike from 20 yards. At the other end Spain break dangerously and quickly slip Deulofeu through on goal, with the winger's snapshot turned clear by a strong stop at full stretch from Antwi.
68 minCampana gets involved for the first time to roam clear inside the final third, and with no support ends up lashing wide of Antwi's near post. Spain continue to carry a serious threat and you sense there is at least one more goal in this match before the full-time whistle goes.
71 minSUBSTITUTION: Ghana decide to make their first change to introduce fresh legs in attack, with the hard-working Narh replaced by striker Moses Odjer. The Black Satellites are just starting to show signs of tiredness but continue to press forward, with a high offside line just helping Baba cut out a pass aimed towards Deulofeu.
74 minOjder quickly gets involved to find space out wide and cross for Acheampong, who heads wide from a tight angle after darting inside the penalty area with purpose. Spain have clearly moved Suarez to a central position as they aim to keep possession more effectively, with Oliver hacked down by Attamah for a free kick just beyond the halfway line.
76 minBaba shows strength to muscle Manquillo off the ball out wide, but Aboagye is unable to make contact with a cross as Ghana break forward in numbers.
79 minSUBSTITUTION: Both sides have decided to make a further change, with Spain swapping star man Deulofeu for Racing youngster Jairo out wide. Ghana replace Aboagye with highly-rated staret Assifuah, who is expected to sign for Udinese this summer.
82 minYELLOW CARD! Bernat makes a terrific burst forward from full-back, beating three defenders before being hacked over by a desperate sliding challenge from Attamah. He picks up a yellow card for the late tackle, but more importantly concedes a free kick just outside the penalty area. Campana's effort is parried clear, with Suso eventually turning wide at the near post from the follow-up.
85 minYELLOW CARD! Boakye follows Attamah into the referee's notebook after a very cynical challenge on Saul that looked full of frustration. The forward then kicks the ball away in anger is rather fortunate to escape with just a caution after a clear show of dissent.
88 minGhana just looked to have run out of steam as the clock runs down, but Boakye switches back on to win a corner kick at the far post. The quickly taken set piece bounces to Duncan inside the penalty area, with his left-footed volley falling straight to a grateful Sotres.
90 min+1SUBSTITUTION: Suarez is swapped for Levante midfielder Rubin as Spain make a late change to run down the clock. When play resumes Rubin has a quick impact to pick out his fellow substitute Jairo, but he is only able to drill a low strike at Antwi from point-blank range. From that range Spain should really have put the three points beyond doubt and the youngster knows it.
90 min+3Acheampong drifts into space inside the penalty area and is picked out by a clever reverse pass from Baba. His drilled cross towards the far post carries a huge threat, but Bernat reads the danger to smash clear. Ghana then have a late penalty appeal turned away as Assifuah goes down in a tussle with Puerto, but the referee is unmoved and waves play on.
8.55pmWell in the end Spain survived a scare to ease past Ghana, ensuring qualification for the last 16 in the process. Ghana battled bravely but will now have to beat the United States later this week to have any chance of progressing.
8.58pmThat just about does it for Sports Mole coverage of Spain's latest victory at youth level. Thanks for your time and be sure to check back in all week for comprehensive coverage from the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey. Goodnight!