25 June 2014

Ghana Bows Out After Defeat

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

Ghana's tumultuous World Cup was brought to an end following a 2-1 Group G loss to Portugal In Brasilia on Thursday.

The defeat means the Black Stars finish last in the pool with just a single point, and ends a horror week of alleged player mutiny, money worries and the banishment of two of their star names.

An own goal from John Boye put Portugal in front and summed up Ghana's current fortunes, but Asamoah Gyan became the highest ever African goal-scorer in World Cups when he equalised early in the second half.

But Cristiano Ronaldo profited from another Ghana mistake to hand Portugal the win, though it was not enough to see the European side into the second round, where Germany and USA will represent this pool.

Ghana's World Cup ebbed and flowed. An opening match defeat to the USA was followed by a fully deserved 2-2 draw with Germany that kept their second round hopes alive.

But as the tournament wore on, so did the discord amongst the players over the country's football association.

Reports of a mutiny against coach Kwesi Appiah were quashed, but it then became evident that the players were close to revolt over unpaid appearance fees on the eve of their clash with Portugal.

And then the biggest bombshell of all: the expulsion of key players Sulley Muntari, for allegedly striking a Ghana FA official, and Kevin-Prince Boateng for verbally abusing Appiah.

It was not want the team needed on the eve of the game and rather soured the atmosphere around the squad.

Ronaldo struck the crossbar early on with a deep cross that flummoxed goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, who then made a magnificent point-blank save from the Real Madrid man to keep Portugal out.

After Asamoah Gyan had seen his effort well saved by Beto in the Portugal goal, the European side did get their noses in front.

Miguel Veloso's cross from the left was turned into his own goal by Boye, who lunged at the ball and sliced it into the net.

That was the way it stayed until halftime, but 10 minutes into the second period and Ghana were deservedly level.

Kwadwo Asamoah's brilliant delivery, again from the left, was headed home by the evergreen Gyan.

The Black Stars piled on the pressure after that and looked the most likely until some shoddy defending handed the advantage back to Portugal.

Ghana could not clear a cross and Dauda dropped the ball into the path of Ronaldo, who this time beat the goalkeeper from eight yards.

It was an open game after that, Portugal needing more goals to try and make a claim for the next round, while Ghana needed two goals to grab the win and enter the Last 16.

But try as they might, they could not force the ball home.

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