Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ghana Black Stars Oust US From World Cup

Ghana 2 - USA 1
We are there!

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Black Stars of Ghana yesterday made a historic adventure in the on-going World Cup competition by beating their US counterparts by two goals to one, to qualify to the next stage of the competition. To many Ghanaians the victory was a deserved one after most of the African continent's teams have been knocked out of the competition.

Not only Ghanaians were happy about the feat achieved by the Black Stars but it seems the whole world. Even Americans, in defeat, have applauded the Ghanaians.

After the game, ADM received a whole lot of messages from different parts of the world congratulating the Black Stars.

"Congratulations from Canada!! You guys are great!" Glenda Glenday wrote to ADM.

"What of President Kufour renaming the Accra airport, the Black Star International Airport? Let's unite to defeat object poverty now!" Napoleon from Monrovia wrote to ADM.

"Am excited, I don't know what to do. Yes, Yes, Yes, am proud to be a Ghanaian. Ghana is simply on cloud nine", a fan told ADM.

"I said we would cause a surprise and we have done just that. Now Africa is proud, we have proved to the world that we can do it. The boys have done well, am over excited, God bless Ghana".

On the pitch of play, Goalkeeper Richard Kingston with a broad smile waved to the enthusiastic crowed, John Painstil, Shilla Illiasu and Michael Essien hugged each other; Stephen Appiah looked up into the sky. Before the players on the pitch could exchange jerseys with their counterparts, the players on the Ghanaian bench moved on to the pitch and held the players in wild jubilation.

In Accra, the atmosphere was simply electrifying as taxi drivers touted their horns, people took to the streets shouting and dancing and at the time of writing, one huge party had erupted allover the country. To Africa and the rest of the world, Ghana has really made another history.

Many people did not give the Black Stars a dog's chance after their defeat to the Italians. European and some African commentators glibly dismissed them as just another African cosmetic appearance. Ghana recovered from that initial defeat to clinch a place in the last 16 with this historic victory over the USA in Nuremberg yesterday.

Though the United States had better exchanges in the proceedings, the Black Stars showed them "Football made in Africa", when in the 22nd minute Haminu Dramani fired Ghana ahead after robbing Claudio Reyna off the ball.

The United States fought very hard and cancelled the lead in the early minutes of the second half, but Stephen Appiah restored Ghana's lead from a penalty awarded against USA defender Oguchi Onyewu.

As USA pressed for an equalizer, the Black Stars defense proved unassailable till the referee brought proceedings.

The Black Stars will meet their Brazilian counterpart in the next stage of the competition but even before the match is played, football pundits have termed that encounter "Mother of all matches".


Ghana's 2-1 victory over the USA in Nuremberg booked their place in the Round of 16 and left Bruce Arena's men facing an earlier than expected flight home from the FIFA World Cup™ finals.

The Africans took the lead in the 22nd minute when Haminu Draman robbed Claudio Reyna of possession on the edge of the area and cooly slotted the ball past Kasey Keller.

Clint Dempsey's powerful finish two minutes before half-time gave the US hope of winning the match, but they were soon behind again through Stephen Appiah's penalty, scored in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half.

Try as they might after the interval, the US could not find a way past a stubborn Ghana rearguard and leave the tournament after claiming just one point from their three group games. For Ratomir Dujkovic's Black Stars, however, a match with the winners of Group F in Dortmund awaits.

The match:

9': The first attempt at goal came from Ghana, with Michael Essien receiving a square pass in the box and firing wide.

15': It was an extremely physical match in the early stages, with each team picking up a booking in the first 15 minutes.

17': After winning a corner, the first effort on goal by the US was a header straight at the keeper by Clint Dempsey.

22': Five minutes later, Ghana opened the scoring. Draman dispossessed Claudio Reyna on the edge of the box and coolly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Kasey Keller at the far post. Worse yet, it was a double whammy for the Americans as their skipper was injured in the process. Although he soon returned, he was substituted before the end of the half. 1-0

30': Ghana almost added a second on the half-hour mark, Essien threading a ball for Razak Pimpong and the forward shot wide of the right post.

35': The US missed a golden chance to equalise when Brian McBride knocked a ball down for Landon Donovan to shoot from close range, but the LA Galaxy man blazed his shot over the bar.

43': The US levelled matters when DaMarcus Beasley won a ball in midfield and played it across the face of goal and Dempsey slammed it past Kingson. 1-1

45+2': But the Americans went from high to low within a matter of minutes when Oguchi Onyewu was penalised for pushing Pimpong in the area. Appiah was perfect from the penalty spot, giving Ghana the lead as they went into the interval. 2-1

Appiah's appetite for goals

55': A counterattack by Ghana ten minutes into the second half almost extended their lead, with a brilliant one-handed diving save by Keller denying Appiah.

60':The first quarter-hour of the second half was similar to the first 15 minutes of the first half, with a lot of physical play in midfield and few chances for either team.

66': The scoring frustrations of the US team were illustrated when Eddie Lewis did well to make space for a driven cross from the left and McBride's header hit the post.

67': The Americans went close with another header as Onyewu rose high into the air to meet a corner but saw his effort go just over.

80': After the two quick chances, the Americans began to attack with more passion than precision, repeatedly getting caught offside as they desperately tried to beat Ghana's trap.

83': Arena's side showed some life again after the introduction of Bobby Convey, but first Donovan and then Convey failed to deliver good balls with targets waiting inside the box.

90': With the desperation mounting for the US, Ghana almost added another when Alex Mensah-Tachie tried to deflect a driven pass on goal, but it went just wide of the left-hand post.

In conclusion:

As was the case in every game they played at Germany 2006, the US conceded the game's first goal. Although they managed to equalise as they did against Italy, the scoreline did not stay level for long, and they just did not have the firepower to overturn another deficit.

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