County Antrim’s hopes of reaching the Junior Section Milk Cup final were dashed after a 2-0 defeat to Ghana’s Right to Dream. The county side were trailing after Isaac Atanga’s strike 11 minutes into play put the Ghanaians ahead. Antrim pressed for a late equaliser but were hit with a sucker punch when Ibrahim Sadiq scored with the last kick of the game.
Former Northern Ireland international Jim Magilton was in the crowd at Seahaven and watched on as the game’s first opportunity fell to Right to Dream. Atanga’s fourth minute shot shaved the post after a clever turn beat his marker and gave him space to shoot. Atanga did find the net moments later after great build-up play on the left. The striker exchanged passes with Emmanuel Bam, who cut the ball back towards the penalty spot for Atanga to smash home.
Antrim started to create chances of their own and got more involved in the game early in the second half. Winger Harry Robinson burst past two defenders and tested the goalkeeper from distance six minutes in from the restart. The youngster then had the crowd on its feet when his spectacular long-range strike dipped late and hit the roof of the net.
This effort proved to be Antrim’s best attempt at goal as Marc McKenna fired over from distance and had a goal-bound shot blocked heroically by Firas Kora. Antrim goalkeeper Harry Monaghan made an excellent reaction save from Bam’s close-range shot to keep his side in the game with 13 minutes played in the second half.
With seconds remaining, Antrim pushed all their men up in an attempt to force the game to penalties. However, after being dispossessed, Right to Dream counter-attacked quickly and exposed the county team’s lack of numbers in defence. Atanga sprung forward and with only Monaghan to beat, unselfishly squared it to Sadiq who tapped it home and ensured the win.
The defeat means County Antrim will now play Liverpool tomorrow for third place, while Right to Dream will be competing against Southampton in the Milk Cup Junior final.
Match Report by Nathan Webb