Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 24 News List

World Cup: Black Stars go for glory

FIGHTBACK Ghana came back from an Italian beating to defeat the Czechs and yesterday the United States. They are the first African team to advance to the round of 16

AGENCIES , NUREMBERG

Ghana midfielder Stephen Appiah, right, celebrates with forward Razak Pimpong after Appiah scored on a penalty kick in the match between Ghana and the United States at Nuremberg's Franken Stadium yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Group E
Ghana 2, United States 1
Ghana's Black Stars won a place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over the United States in a Group E decider yesterday that they largely controlled.

A stoppage time penalty just before the break converted by captain Stephen Appiah secured the required three points after the United States' Clint Dempsey had canceled out Ghana's initial goal by Haminu Dramani.

The US struck the post midway through the second half, but otherwise, with a lone striker for much of the match, caused the Ghanaian defense few problems.

BRAZIL LIKELY

The Africans, who lost 2-0 to Italy in their first match, finished second in Group E and are likely to play Group F leaders Brazil for a place in the quarter-finals but will be without midfield inspiration Michael Essien.

His crunching tackle on Reyna in the first half brought his second consecutive yellow card of the tournament.

Ghana were the more combative for most of the match, although they struggled to find their rhythm early on against a United States team that was missing key center back Eddie Pope and holding midfielder Pablo Mastroeni through suspension.

LEG INJURY

They also lost captain Claudio Reyna toward the end of the first half.

Ghana took the lead in the 22nd minute when midfielder Haminu Draman dispossessed Reyna and strode into the penalty area to curl the ball past a diving Kasey Keller. Reyna appeared to pick up a leg injury in the process.

Midfielder Dempsey fired the US back on level terms two minutes from the break after DaMarcus Beasley cracked in a low cross from the left following a defensive mix-up among three Ghanaians.

But within four minutes Appiah had cracked the spot kick into the top left corner after Razak Pimpong had been pushed in the area.

LAST HALF HOUR

US coach Bruce Arena threw on forward Eddie Johnson to join striker Brian McBride for the last half hour, a move that kick-started a series of assaults toward the Ghanaian goal.

McBride struck the post in the 66th minute with a header from an Eddie Lewis cross.

Oguchi Onyewu rose above the Ghanaian defense from a corner only a minute later, but his header passed just above the crossbar.

Ghana weathered the storm and held on for the victory.

There were wild celebrations and a few prayers as players tore off their shirts or dropped to their knees.

They had bounced back from losing their first game against group winners Italy and progressed to the last 16.

Full report in tomorrow's edition of the Taipei Times.

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