Thursday 23 November 2017

Gyan blasts Ghana through

Ghana 2

(After extra-time)

Asamoah Gyan kept the African flag flying at the World Cup with a spectacular strike in extra-time to take Ghana through to their first ever quarter-final.

It was the second time in successive World Cups that Ghana had defeated the United States, having effectively dumped them out of the tournament four years ago by beating them in the final group game.

Gyan's goal, after 93 minutes, was worthy of winning any game after he outmuscled USA captain Carlos Bocanegra to blast his shot past goalkeeper Tim Howard.

It settled a contest that was level at full time after Landon Donovan's second-half penalty cancelled out a fifth-minute strike from Kevin-Prince Boateng.

It was just reward for Ghana's talent and power and the sole surviving African nation must now fancy their chances of creating an even bigger ripple at this tournament, with Uruguay awaiting them in the last eight.

It was clear from an early stage that the USA were going to be stretched by Ghana's pace and the Black Stars could hardly have made a more stunning start. Portsmouth's Boateng picked up the ball inside his own half and unleashed a shot from 20 yards which flew past Howard.

So superior were Ghana in that first period that after 31 minutes a concerned US coach Bob Bradley substituted midfielder Ricardo Clark, who had received an early booking, and brought on Maurice Edu.

With Fulham's Clint Dempsey at the heart of their good work the Americans surged forward and they received their reward after 62 minutes.

Dempsey was the architect, weaving his way through the Ghana defence into the penalty area where he drew the challenge and was brought down by defender Jonathan Mensah.

Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai pointed to the spot and Donovan stepped up to slide home his third goal in four matches. So to a frantic extra time and Gyan's stunning strike which sent the USA home and Ghana into ecstasy.

USA: Howard; Cherundolo, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Bornstein, Dempsey, Bradley, Clark (Edu 30), Donovan, Altidore (Gomez 91), Findley (Feilhaber 46).

Ghana: Kingson;Inkoom (Muntari 113), Pantsil, John Mensah, Jonathan Mensah, Sarpei (Addy 72), Annan, Kevin-Prince Boateng (Appiah 78), Asamoah, Gyan, Andre Ayew.

Referee: V Kassai (Hungary).

Sunday Independent

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