Glory day for Ghana
17 Jun 2006 - 19:10:43
Ghana threw Group E wide open after defeating Czech Republic 2-0 in an entertaining clash in Cologne.
After losing their opening game 2-0 to Italy in Hanover, Ghana needed to kick-start their World Cup campaign to avoid elimination with one game remaining and Ratomir Dujkovic's side did exactly that as they took the lead after 75 seconds through Asamoah Gyan.
When the ball was returned to the edge of the box Tomas Ujfalusi mis-timed his challenge, leaving Gyan to dispatch a low left-foot shot under the dive of Petr Cech.
The Black Stars should have doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark first through Matthew Amoah, who drilled over from 15 yards, before Gyan shot weakly at the diving Cech from close range.
Skipper Stephen Appiah came within inches of adding to the lead with a low strike that whistled past the post as Ghana continued to hold the upper hand.
Czech Republic came out after the interval in more determined fashion, but without injured strikers Jan Koller and Milan Baros they often looked toothless in attack.
Skipper Pavel Nedved saw a header from eight yards beat the keeper after 47 minutes only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Jaroslav Plasil then lashed an angled shot over the bar in the 55th minute after a flowing move led by the twin threat of Nedved and Arsenal-bound Tomas Rosicky.
As Czech Republic pushed forward looking for an equaliser they began to leave gaps at the back and when a long-range shot deflected into the path of Gyan on the edge of the box, Ujfalusi conceded a penalty after tripping Amoah.
Ujfalusi was shown a straight red card, but Ghana failed to take full advantage when Gyan's 66th minute spot-kick bounced away to safety off the post.
Cech came to his side's rescue with quick-fire saves from Amoah and Sulley Muntari as the game became stretched.
But with Ghana opening up the opposition defence virtually at will, Muntari finally sealed the victory after capping a neat three-man move inside the box with a rising shot over the head of Cech in the 82nd minute.
The result leaves Group E wide open, with Ghana and Czech Republic both level on three points with one match still to play.
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