Wednesday 18 October 2017

Gyan pays the penalty for last-gasp miss in Black Stars' nightmare

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

Ian Chadband

AFRICA'S footballing dream was shattered in a penalty shoot-out after the most dramatic finish to any game at this World Cup saw Ghana blow a glorious chance to become the continent's first ever semi-finalists.

With the score 1-1 after a thrilling, open encounter, Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty for Ghana with the last kick of extra-time.

And instead, it is Uruguay who reached their first semi-final for 40 years, winning the shoot-out 4-2 after Ghana captain John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah had their spot-kicks saved by Fernando Muslera.

Maximiliano Pereira ballooned his kick for Uruguay but a cheeky dinked penalty from substitute Sebastian Abreu sealed the South Americans' progress.

Working from a deep-lying attacking position, Diego Forlan caused havoc each time he went roaming early in the match, his combination play with Luis Suarez resulting in the Ajax striker breaking through a feeble challenge from Isaac Vorsah and shooting into Richard Kingson's arms.

rocket

Kingson made two fine saves before a Forlan curler sailed just wide. Then Ghana came alive. A corner from the left was met by a rocket header from Vorsah which whistled just past the post.

When Uruguay's captain Diego Lugano had to be substituted before half-time, it could hardly help their composure yet still Muntari's goal seemed to explode from nowhere. With no other available option 30 yards out, he turned and let a speculative shot fly that left Muslera flat-footed.

To no one's surprise, it was Forlan who pulled Uruguay back into the match after the break with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the box.

Despite the open nature of the game even in extra-time, with the tireless Gyan never letting up and Boateng heading just wide, there was somehow an inevitability about the penalty denouement.

Then, the astonishing last-second drama. After the ball was pumped in from a corner, Dominic Adiyiah's shot was blocked on the line by Suarez but the striker was then given a red card when he punched Adiyiah's follow up header off the line. Yet Gyan's penalty struck the crossbar and the misery of Ghana's best player was terrible to behold. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Uruguay -- Muslera, Lugano (Scotti 38), Fucile, Victorino, Pereira, Perez, Arevalo Rios, Fernandez (Lodeiro 46), Cavani (Abreu 76), Suarez, Forlan.

Ghana -- Kingson, Sarpei, Pantsil, Mensah, Inkoom (Appiah 73), Vorsah, Annan, Muntari (Adiya 88), Boateng, Gyan, Asamoah.

REF -- O Benquerenca (Portugal).

Irish Independent

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