Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Monday, July 05, 2010

Football League at World Cup 2010: Update 5

The last eight of the first World Cup in Africa featured one country from the host continent. That was Ghana - who also happened to be the last remaining country to feature a Football League player.

We've been following the Black Stars from the group stages right through to Friday's quarter final game against Uruguay.

Could Ghana become the first ever African team to reach the semis of a World Cup? Or, like Cameroon and Senegal before them, would they find this stage one game too far?

Standing in their way were the two-times winners Uruguay - who had been another of the surprise packages of the tournament to date.


Uruguay v Ghana
Friday July 2, 20:30, Johannesburg

With a passionate home crowd roaring them on at Soccer City, Ghana went into the game buoyant about their chances of making African footballing history.

However, it was the South American side who began the stronger, as they sought an opening goal. Twice they were denied by keeper Richard Kingson though.

First, he saved a corner that had deflected off John Mensah and then he athletically tipped over a rising drive from Luis Suarez.

Despite those early chances, the Ghanaians began to grow into the game. Isaac Vorsah went close with a header, then a storming run from Kevin Prince-Boateng ended with his centre being narrowly directed wide by Asamoah Gyan.

Ghana were now on top and, despite Prince-Boateng missing with an overhead kick, they took the lead in first half stoppage time.

Sulley Muntari's spectacular long range drive deceived Fernando Muslera in the Uruguayan goal and sent the majority of the 84,000 crowd wild.

Sulley Muntari's goal gave Ghana a first half advantage over Uruguay

With their World Cup future in doubt, Uruguay began the second half intent on getting back on level terms. They didn't have to wait long to get back into the game either.

Diego Forlan's free kick from the left hand side of the box was whipped in with pace past Kingson - who misjudged the flight of the ball.

The game began to open up, as both sides looked to get a second. Gyan went close for Ghana - forcing Muslera into a smart stop down to his right.

Suarez should then have done better for Uruguay when, with the goal at his mercy, he could only volley a Forlan cross from the left wide. He was then denied again by Kingson with a drive at the near post.

Kingson could only grasp at air as Forlan's free kick levelled the score

However, neither side could make the breakthrough and, as with their match against the United States in the last round, Ghana were forced into an extra thirty minutes.

And, with their opponents visibly tiring, the African side forced the issue - looking for the goal which would take them through. Gyan was again making himself a nuisance for the Uruguayan defence, and he sent a header wide.

Then Prince-Boateng could only head wide at the near post after a long throw had caused trouble in the box.

With seconds remaining - and a shoot out looming - Ghana were presented with a golden opportunity to seal their place in the semis.

Uruguay failed to deal with a dubious free kick and, after a melee in the box, a header was parried off the line by the hand of Suarez. The ref had no hesitation in dismissing the Uruguayan and awarding the Black Stars the penalty.

Up stepped Gyan - who had converted two spot kicks in the group stage - but his penalty ricocheted off the top of the bar and out. It was the final kick of the match - and signalled a penalty shoot would be required to separate the teams.

Asamoah Gyan's penalty was the chance to make African football history

After both sides have coverted their opening two spot kicks, Andres Scotti made it 3-2 to Uruguay. Ghana's John Mensah then sent a tame penalty comfortably into the arms of Muslera.

That advantage appeared to have been squandered as Maxi Pereira blazed their next effort well over, but Muslera was again the hero for Uruguay as he saved Dominic Adiyiah's spot kick.

That presented Sebastian Abreu with the opportunity of sending Uruguay through to their first semi final since 1970 - and ending Africa's interest in their own World Cup.

He duly did. Showing incredible nerve, his chipped penalty down the middle of the goal left Kingson stranded and sent La Celeste through to face Holland in Cape Town.

For Ghana, and Africa, their World Cup - and with it a chance to make history - was over.

Abreu's audacious spot kick sealed Uruguay's place in the semi finals

Final score: Uruguay 1 Ghana 1 AET (Uruguay win 4-2 on penalties)

We'll have a review of the tournament for all our teams later in the week.

No comments:

Post a Comment