Ghana reach quarters to emulate African feat
الأحد، 27 يونيو 2010 - 00:12
كتب : Hatem Maher
A place among the last eight was the farthest position African teams could achieve, with Cameroon and Senegal reaching that stage in 1990 and 2002 respectively.
Ghana spared the blushes of Africa in the first tournament to be held in the Dark Continent after five other teams - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast and hosts South Africa - were eliminated from the group stage.
The Black Stars shined in a night to remember for Africa and emerged worthy winners from a tough tie against the United States.
They took a first-half lead via a goal from Kevin-Prince Boateng but the US restored parity with a Landon Donavan penalty in the 62nd minute to force the match into extra time.
Lone striker Gyan scored his third goal of the South Africa finals three minutes into the first half of extra time in a superb fashion to hand Ghana an invaluable win.
The African Cup of Nations runners-up will face Uruguay, who beat South Korea 2-1 earlier in the day, in the quarter final with an eye on a historic last-four berth.
The vivid Ghana made a bright start, taking a five-minute lead through German-born midfielder Boateng.
The Portsmouth man gathered the ball after US midfielder Ricardo Clark gave it away, evaded a challenger on the edge of the area and drilled a left-footed shot that beat keeper Tim Howard at the near post.
Ghana's compact midfield made life difficult for the Americans, who struggled to move the ball smoothly and pile on pressure.
The likes of Boateng and Anthony Annan repeatedly stole possession from the US midfielders who looked out of sorts in the first half.
Ghana's left-sided midfielder Andre Ayew and playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah annoyed opposing defense with their neat passes and skilful feints but they also had defensive roles to play.
However, the US could still have equalized on a couple of occasions but were thwarted by in-form keeper Richard Kingson.
He blocked close-range shots from Robbie Findley and Benny Feilhaber in the 35th and 47 minutes but was finally beaten when the US were awarded a penalty on the hour mark.
A poor challenge from teenage defender Jonathan Mensah brought down Clint Dempsey after he was played in by a fine nutmeg.
Donavan stepped up to send Kingson the wrong way and level the score for his third goal of the tournament.
Ghana could not maintain their midfield supremacy in the second half and were unlucky to lose Boateng to injury in the 77th minute. He was replaced by 29-year-old midfielder Stephen Appiah.
The US were more dangerous on the break and wasted a glorious opportunity to go ahead with ten minutes remaining.
Jozy Altidore latched onto a long ball and out-muscled his marker inside the area but dragged his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
The US would probably rue that chance as Ghana took them by surprise in the first half of extra time.
Rennes striker Gyan ran onto a long ball, held off two defenders, chested the ball and fired a venomous left-footed shot which left Howard with no chance.
The US tried to level the score once again but Ghana held firm to enjoy a remarkable win.