Ghana reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time today, with a 2-1 defeat of the United States sealing their place in the last 16.
Haminu Draman opened the scoring for the Black Stars following a blunder by
Claudio Reyna in the 22nd minute, before Clint Dempsey levelled the scores for
in the 43rd.
A controversial penalty from Stephen Appiah just before the break proved
decisive, as the USA failed to find a way back into the match.
Both coaches made three changes from the last match. With Pablo Mastroeni and
Eddie Pope suspended, Bruce Arena brought Eddie Lewis and Jimmy Conrad into the
starting line-up, while DaMarcus Beasley took the midfield place of Reading's
Bans forced Ghana boss Ratomir Dujkovic to replace Asamoah Gyan and Sulley
Muntari, who were on target in the memorable 2-0 victory over the Czech
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien picked up his second yellow card of the
tournament after just five minutes and three minutes later he fired wide.
After Dempsey challenged with a header in the 17th, the Africans opened the
scoring after a mistake from Reyna let Draman in.
The striker deprived Manchester City's former Sunderland and Rangers
midfielder off the ball and gently chipped it past ex-Tottenham goalkeeper Kasey
Keller from 10 yards out on the left.
Reyna appeared to be in serious pain as he was carried off the pitch on a
stretcher, but he returned until the 40th minute when Ben Olsen took his place.
It was never going to be Reyna4s day, however, as Essien took advantage of
another ill-fated midfield ball to send Razak Pimpong into the clear - only for
the striker to fire inches wide.
The USA seized control in the following, with Landon Donovan dragging a shot
wide and Ghana keeper Richard Kingson fisting away a dangerous free-kick from
Dempsey then pulled one back for his country in the 43rd after Beasley had
intercepted a pass in the attacking third. He chipped the ball over to the
surging Dempsey, who hammered it home from 12 yards out.
Ghana restored their lead in the second minute of injury-time courtesy of a
Oguchi Onyewu was penalised for holding Pimpong, and Appiah sent the spot-kick
past Keller to give his troops a 2-1 half-time lead.
The second half was marred by numerous injury breaks, and the first chance did
not come until the 54th minute when a 25-yarder from Matthew Amoah was tipped
around by Keller.
With Ghana waiting for counter-attack chances, the US increased the pressure
with 25 minutes left.
Fulham's Brian McBride rattled the left post with a close-range header
following a pinpoint cross from Leeds' Lewis from the left, Fulham's Carlos
Bocanegra shot over, while Onyewu headed just wide.
The Black Stars were seeking to run down the clock - and they almost scored a
third goal after Essien found Alex Tachie-Mensah on a fast break, but the ball
was diverted into safety.
Ghana then survived five minutes of injury-time to make history for the
country, with a likely clash against world champions Brazil their likely reward
in Dortmund next Tuesday.