17 June 2014

Ghana: Wasteful Ghana Beaten By USA

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Asamoah Gyan celebrates his and Ghana's only goal in the match with Brazil.

The USA scored at the very start and the end of the game to take all three points as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Ghana in the opening match of their World Cup Group G campaign in Natal on Monday.

American striker Clint Dempsey netted after just 29 seconds, the fifth-fastest World Cup goal of all time, to put his side ahead, but it looked as though Ghana would rescue a point when Andre Ayew combined brilliantly with Asamoah Gyan to fashion an equaliser with eight minutes remaining.

There was still more drama, however, as John Brooks netted a winner for the American side to break Black Stars' hearts and gain some revenge for the USA after they were effectively knocked out of the last two World Cup finals by Ghana.

It was tough on the west African side after they dominated the second half in particular, where some excellent play up to the final third of the pitch was not matched by composed finishing.

Although the Ghana coach opted for a lone striker in Gyan, the forward was supported by an attacking trio in the form of the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordon, and Christian Atsu.

On the American side, DaMarcus Beasley became the first player from the USA to play at four World Cup finals.

Fans were still settling into their seats when the Americans grabbed the lead. Dempsey beat defender John Boye and then placed his shot into the far corner of the net to put his side in front.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side were dealt a blow when Jozy Altidore, who netted twice in a friendly win over Nigeria prior to the World Cup, saw his night -- and possibly his tournament -- ended by a hamstring injury midway through the first half.

It took Ghana until the 35th minute to force USA goalkeeper Tim Howard into a serious save as he beat away an effort from Gyan.

And Jordan Ayew had an even better opportunity to level matters in the dying seconds of the first half, but his tame effort never troubled Howard.

The Black Stars were much better in the second period, creating numerous scoring opportunities, before Andre Ayew finally drew them level late on.

Gyan, who was the chief culprit in Ghana's wastefulness in front of goal, played a brilliant back-heel into the path of the midfielder and he lashed the ball home with the outside of his boot on 82 minutes.

The goal appeared to spur Ghana on and it seemed certain that if there was to be another goal it would come from them.

But four minutes later they switched off at a corner and Brooks stole in unmarked to head home and claim a massive win for the USA.

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