Friday, 2 July 2010

Uruguay End African Dreams

Uruguay 1-1 Ghana
Uruguay wins 4-2 on kicks from the penalty mark.

Africa's last team at the competition departed the competition after losing to Uruguay after a penalty shootout at Soccer City.

With the hosts gone from the tournament the whole of a continent were united behind the Black Stars and they were even referred to in the South African press as BaGhana BaGhana. Ghana made a bright start to the game and starved Uruguay of possession but as the game wore on the influence of Diego Forlán and Luis Suaréz became stronger and stronger and dodgy Ghanian keeper Richard Kingson was forced into action. But the Ghanians rode the storm as Uruguay suffered a blow 7 minutes before the break when they lost captain Diego Lugano to injury. Ghana stunned Soccer City when they took the lead with the last action of the first half, Sulley Muntari picked up the ball 35 metres away from the goal and unleashed a powerful shot that beat Muslera and had them dancing on the streets of Accra.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabárez made a positive move at half time when introducing Nicholas Lodeiro as they were 45 minutes away from elimination. Ten minutes into the half though Uruguay were level. After John Pantsil was booked for a foul, up steps Diego Forlán to get the free kick over the wall and past Kingson into the Ghana goal. Asamoah Gyan was a constant threat for Ghana and Kevin Prince Boateng was proving a thing or two to the Germans as well. Uruguay still tired to be positive and win the game within regulation, introducing El Loco Sebastian Abreu into the action with 14 minutes left but nothing came of it and we went to extra time.

As the game got into extra time both teams were tired and chances were few and far between. Ghana of course were going over old ground after their extra time win over the USA in the last round and for the majority of the extra period they actually looked the fresher of the two teams. As time ran out in extra time, Ghana pressed for a winner and after a goal mouth scramble as the game went into injury time at the end of extra time Adiyiah's goal bound header was handled off the line by Suaréz. It was a blatant act of cheating to be honest and after Suaréz was sent off he left the field in tears, the hopes of Africa fell onto the shoulders of Asamoah Gyan, already successful twice from the spot during the competition his smashed his spot kick against the bar and the final whistle went for full time and Suaréz celebrated before disappearing down the tunnel.

As the penalty competition the momentum seemed to be with the Uruguayans, despite losing one of their five regular penalty takers ths miss of Gyan seemed to gee them up. The now Uruguay captain Diego Forlán was first up and he cooly slotted past Kingson. Immediately after missing Asamoah Gyan was first up for Ghana and he bravely put his kick into the top corner to level things. Mauricio Victorino was up next and he blasted his kick into the net, he was followed by Stephen Appiah and he lifted his kick over Muslera despite the uruguay goalkeeper guessing the right way. Andres Scotti was next up and despite it being a poor penalty it found the back of the net, John Mensah followed for Ghana and it was easily saved by Muslera. Maxi Pereira then skied his penalty into row z to keep Ghana in the contest but Dominic Adiyiah had his saved by Muslera to put Uruguay on the hill. El Loco Abreu stepped up to be the Uruguay hero and he coolly slotted his penalty past Kingson to put Uruguay into a semi final clash against the Netherlands in Cape Town, a repeat of their 1974 clash in Hanover.

Asamoah Gyan was inconsolable at the end of proceedings but Uruguay will go to Cape Town without Suaréz and Fucile after both picked up suspensions. Highlights are again courtesy of the official FIFA website. These are subject to local restrictions. We recommend our UK readers use the BBC Website.


Anonymous said...

hey dude,
you should study soccer rules before accusing my team of cheating!!!
Suarez had an instinctive reaction, as anyone playing in that situation would have.
You have showed an unacceptable lack of respect to real football players here.
I would like to see an apologize from you.

Uruguay nomás!!!!

Matt said...

Hey dude.

Thanks for the feedback. The report was written as the game was taking place and I called it as I saw it at the time.

I now appreciate that it was a gut reaction at the time but I still think the reaction of the Uruguay players, Suaréz included was a little over top. If the boot was on the other foot I know a Ghana player or any other would have done the same thing.

The fact Forlán praised the actions of Suaréz and even chairing him off the field just made it all seem so wrong for me.

We're going to be right behing Uruguay for the rest of the tournement, but what happened and the reaction to it leave a slight sour taste in the mouth.

Then again, Gyan had a chance to win it an bottled it.