Black Stars rue yellow cards

Ghana’s 2-0 victory over a 10-man Czech Republic side has come at a cost with both Black Stars goal scorers suspended for their final group match against the USA due to picking up two yellow cards each in as many matches.

    A cluster of Stars: Ghana's pre-match huddle

    Asamoah Gyan scored Ghana’s first goal in World Cup Finals history, and then set up the second for fellow striker Sulley Muntari, but both men will miss the crucial final group match in Nuremberg on Thursday.

    Modena striker Gyan was given his yellow card for taking a penalty shot before the referee had blown his whistle. 

    Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo, who handed out a total of seven yellow cards and one red card during the match, was in the process of red carding Czech Republic defender Tomas Ujfalusi at the time Gyan prematurely struck his penalty.

    "He (the referee), didn't tell me anything, perhaps he doesn't speak English. I am sorry to the fans and the team because I am very important to my team and my country," a modest Gyan said.

    The Ghanaian then re-took the penalty and blasted it into the post having sent Czech keeper Petr Cech the other way.


    Referring to their 2-0 opening match loss to Italy, the Modena based Gyan was positive that the Black Stars had further improvement in them ahead of their final group match against the USA.

    "It can happen in football that you miss goals," said Gyan.

    "But we went back and corrected our mistakes," the striker added.

    "You can see that everything was great, everything went well today."

    The loss of Gyan and Muntari who were both in fine form against the Czechs will be a massive blow to the Black Stars who play free flowing attacking football. 

    Ghanaian fans celebrate

    The Africans have every right to be ecstatic about the result however, especially given the Czech’s form going into the match, and the fact that no African side had previously recorded a win at the 2006 tournament.

    Croatian coach Ratomir Dujkovic put things into perspective hinting that the next match would be even bigger than the one against the Czechs.

    "I'm surprised because it's only 2-0. But we have to calm down.  The Africans are emotional people. The next match will be the most important of my career," said Dujkovic.

    "We weren't the favourites for the game. But I said Ghana could probably be a surprising team."

    National pride

    Substitute midfielder Derek Boateng commented on what making the second round would mean to the Black Stars, their fans and their continent.

    "That's our aim (the second round), it would be fantastic for us and we're looking forward to that, because it's very important for us and the whole country, the whole of Africa," said the AIK Stockholm midfielder.

    After both of tonight’s results, with Italy drawing 1-1 with the USA in Kaiserslautern, Group E is wide open with every team having the chance to progress to the second round.

    It all comes down to the final group matches as the Czech Republic take on Italy in Hamburg and Ghana play the USA in Nuremberg, both at 4pm local time on Thursday 22nd June.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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