The Stars of Ghana shine

Ghana has scored the biggest upset of the tournament with a shock 2-0 win over the highly fancied Czech Republic in Cologne.

    Sulley Muntari seals it

    In what must have been close to the game of the tournament thus far, a goal in each half was enough to give the continent of Africa their first win of the World Cup and throw Group E wide open.

    The Black Stars got off to a dream start when after just two minutes captain Stephen Appiah split the defence with an inch perfect pass before striker Asamoah Gyan chested the ball down and buried it into the bottom left hand corner of Petr Cech’s goal.

    Then in the 82nd minute the Africans finally broke the defences of the defiant Cech again when Udinese midfielder Sulley Muntari slammed home his side's second.

    Drama

    It was a match of high drama which culminated in the 65th minute.

    Czech defender Tomas Ujfalusi was red carded after he cynically brought down striker Matthew Amoah as he bore down on goal.

    Asamoah Gyan opens the account

    In the commotion of the send off, Gyan drilled the ball home from the penalty spot only to have the referee order him to retake the shot.

    On the second attempt he rattled the ball against the post as the Czechs survived the moment.

    Both sides then attacked with incredible vigour but it was the goal keepers who were starring.

    The Czech Republic's Petr Cech in particular was a colossus between the sticks with a string of remarkable saves.

    The attack minded Ghanaians had a remarkable 20 shots during the match and it seemed almost impossible to beat the Chelsea number one until Muntari’s effort.

    The Africans had only themselves to blame for not scoring more often with a number of easily avoidable offside calls robbing them of what would have been certain goals.

    The early goal brought the game to life as both sides attacked with purpose.

    Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved had a shot from the top of the box on 12 minutes, although the Juventus player's effort went directly to goal keeper Richard Kingston.

    Fenerbache's Appiah also looked to get himself on the score sheet with two long distance efforts, both just inches wide.

    Nedved and Karel Poborsky also combined on the half hour mark to give the former Manchester United player plenty of space only to see his shot swing across the face of the goal. 

    Flying the flag?

    The game also featured a bizarre goal celebration when Hapoel Tel Aviv defended John Pantsil produced an Israeli flag from his shorts after Muntari's winner.

    The Black Stars choose another
    star

    The inspiration may have come from Ecuador's own Spiderman Ivan Kaviedes who escaped any FIFA charge for pulling on the comic book hero mask for his tribute.

    The future equation

    Both sides will head into the next match in a must win situation, although both will need to look to their reserves.

    The Black Stars of Ghana will play the USA, but will be without striker Asamoah Gyan whose second yellow for taking his penalty kick prior to the referee's whistle proved costly.

    Their other goal scorer Sulley Muntari will also be cheering his side on from the sidelines with his late yellow card giving him his second for the opening round.

    The Czech's coach Karel Bruckner has a real headache with three first choice strikers unavailable for their match against Italy.

    Injured strikers Jan Koller and Milan Baros are joined by the suspended Vratislav Lokvenc after he picked up his second yellow in as many matches.

    They will also be without defender Tomas Ujfalusi after his red card ruled him out of the next match.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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