Ghana stun Czechs to keep hope alive
Making a striking debut, the Africans beat their European counterparts 2-0. Schedule | Teams | Results | Photos | Gamesindia Updated: Jun 18, 2006 03:22 IST
World Cup debutants Ghana kicked some life back into African football on Saturday with a well-deserved World Cup Group E 2-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Asamoah Gyan fired Ghana ahead in the second minute of the match and deservedly doubled their advantage eight minutes from time when Sulley Muntari blasted in another.
They could have made the result more emphatic but for a penalty miss by Gyan in the second half.
The foul that led to the penalty also saw Czech defender Tomas Ujfalusi red-carded on his 50th appearance for the national side, leaving the pre-match favourites struggling with 10 men for the final 24 minutes.
Following the Ivory Coast's early elimination and a string of disappointing results for the Africa's other teams, Ghana bounced back from their own opening defeat to Italy 2-0 with a magnificent display.
Forced to play without injured strikers Jan Koller and Milan Baros, the Czechs, meanwhile, looked a shadow of the team that put three goals past the US, without reply in their opener.
Starting the match at a fierce tempo, Ghana won a corner with less than a minute played and forced Petr Cech into an early clearance.
If that was a warning, the Czechs seemed unable to heed it with Gyan firing into the net just a few seconds later.
Receiving a cross from captain Stephen Appiah, the Modena striker chested the ball down before unleashing a low strike past Cech.
Karel Bruckner's men enjoyed their best moments during the early stages of the second half and thought they had found an equaliser when Pavel Nedved headed home in the 46th minute only for the move to be ruled offside.
Gradually, though, Ghana took charge and enjoyed a succession of chances before their missed 66th minute penalty.
The dismissal of Ujfalusi after a trip on Matthew Amoah led to a twice-taken penalty from Gyan. He tucked in the first top left but the referee said he had not blown for the kick to be taken and booked him.