PORTUGAL 2-1 GHANA
THURSDAY 26TH JUNE – BRASILIA
Boye’s athletic clearance backfired for Ghana as they bitterly fell behind after half an hour. But Portugal’s poor defending throughout the game was cut open by former Premiership Striker Asamoah Gyan’s header just after the break to balance the game back out. But it wasn’t to be as Ronaldo got his first goal of the tournament ten minutes from the end of the game. This signalled the exit for both Portugal and Ghana.
Despite the pre match drama for Ghana as key players Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince-Boateng were kicked out of the squad over a dispute concerning money, Ghana went into day 15 knowing they could progress into the next round for the third time in a row. Ghana brought in Waris and Agyemang-Badu to replace the ejected Muntari and Prince-Boateng. Meanwhile Paulo Bento’s side made changes themselves as Ruben Amorim, Eder and William all started in Brasilia. With Germany and USA given the power to make the result between Portugal and Ghana irrelevant, both teams needed to win and hope for the best in Recife.
The must win game for both teams, started with an explosive cross cum shot by Ronaldo, ricocheting off the bar. This was shortly followed by a typical Ronaldo dead ball situation, saved by Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Dauda. Dauda would prevent Ronaldo scoring on more than one occasion in Brasilia, saving a point blank header from him seven minutes later. On 19 minutes Gyan was able to meet a long ball from his teammates for the first time, his shot on the turn no challenging Beto. The first half was disrupted regularly by fouls which broke up the play and restricted free flowing play from both sides. However the game was soon shaken up by John Boye. A Miguel Veloso cross was whipped into Ghana a territory and uneasily met by Boye, causing the ball to loop into the net off the bar and post. A sudden own goal and Portugal were ahead.
The second half in Brasilia started brightly for the Africans as Asamoah surged forward down the left wing executing a perfect cross for Gyan. The header, headed down beat Beto in the Portuguese goal. Gyan is now the highest scoring African on the big stage, overtaking Roger Milla. Five minutes later the renewed African side went close again as Waris narrowly headed wide a Gyan cross. Both teams continued to search for another goal as the game was evenly poised. Kwadwo Asamoah was dangerous when allowed freedom to run down the left. Portugal were just as dangerous when building up for an attack. Varela’s appearance to the game gave the Portuguese more pace going forward.
On the 79th minute a Varela cross was headed skyward, flapped by Dauda and the smashed in by Ronaldo. The number 7 couldn’t afford to miss from such a chance and duly delivered. He is now the first Portugal player to score in three different world cups. Portugal became energetic and vigilant in possession. With 54% possession they were on the front foot and seemed more likely to score again. Ronaldo had more chances to double his tally but Dauda was determined to not concede again.
The whistle blew in Brasília with both teams bowing out. Ghana would follow teammates Muntari and Prince-Boateng home. However Portugal didn’t crash out without a win as Ronaldo could dampen critic’s doubts on his international form. It’s Germany and USA that progress through the so called ‘group of death’.
PORTUGAL: Beto (Eduardo 89), Bruno Alves, Pepe, Joao Pereira (Varela 61), Miguel Veloso, William, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Ruben Amorim, Ronaldo, Eder (Vieirinha 69).
GOALS: Boye 30OG, Ronaldo 80.
GHANA: Dauda, Mensah, Boye, Afful, Agyemang-Badu, Rabiu (Acquah 76), Asamoah, Gyan, Atsu, A. Ayew (Mubarak 82), Waris (J. Ayew 71).
GOALS: Gyan 57.
BOOKINGS: Afful 39, Waris 55, J. Ayew 78.
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