Ghana can’t seal it late

South Amer­i­cans head to semis with shootout vic­tory

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan, left, can’t con­vert a penalty kick in 120th minute, and Uruguay takes ad­van­tage with shootout vic­tory.

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Noth­ing, it seemed, would go in for Ghana.

Not the shot kicked away at the goal line. Not the block ruled a hand­ball an in­stant later as ex­tra time ticked to a close. Not the sub­se­quent penalty kick that sure-footed Asamoah Gyan sent bounc­ing straight up off the cross­bar.

And not two more tries in the shootout as Uruguay, sud­denly still alive, made four kicks and won the match 4-2 Fri­day night af­ter a 1-1 draw. The South Amer­i­cans are headed to the World Cup semi­fi­nals for the first time in 40 years.

The Ghana­ians were headed home in tears.

“It’s hard luck. You know, we had op­por­tu­nity to win this game,” Gyan said.

With time run­ning out, a scram­ble in front of the Uruguay net caught goal­keeper Fer­nando Muslera out of po­si­tion. A shot by Ghana was kicked away on the goal line by Luis Suarez.

Then, Do­minic Adiyiah’s header was cleared off the goal line by Suarez — us­ing his arm.

That drew an im­me­di­ate red card for the striker, who will miss the semi­fi­nal, and sent Gyan to the penalty spot.

All Gyan needed to do was send it past Muslera — and that would have sent the Black Stars into Africa’s first World Cup semi­fi­nal.

Child’s play for Gyan, who twice in the tour­na­ment scored on a penalty kick. He stared down Muslera, then stroked the ball solidly.

Just as solidly, it hit the cross­bar. Gyan stum­bled away hold­ing his head.

“To be among the four best (teams) in the world, there are no words for that,” Uruguay star striker Diego For­lan said. “We felt we were go­ing to faint with each penalty.”

Rather than faint, Uruguay pounced on an al­most unimag­in­able sec­ond chance.

The fans, ex­cept for the small pock­ets of blue-clad Uruguay sup­port­ers in the crowd of 84,017, booed For­lan be­fore he sent the first kick of the shootout past Richard King­son.

And who would step up first for Ghana but Gyan — and he also struck the ball per­fectly. Had he done so min­utes ear­lier, Ghana and all of Africa would be cel­e­brat­ing a his­toric achieve­ment.

In­stead, the shootout moved to 3-2 for Uruguay and Muslera guessed cor­rectly, div­ing left for an easy save on John Men­sah. Af­ter Max­i­m­il­iano Pereira’s kick skied over the net for Uruguay, the vu­vuze­las again were at their loud­est.

But Muslera also stopped Do­minic Adiyiah, and Se­bas­tian Abreu won it with a soft but ac­cu­rate place­ment as King­son dived right.

Eu­gene Hoshiko AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ivan Sekretarev AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, left, stops the ball with his hands, giv­ing Ghana a late penalty kick dur­ing their World Cup quar­ter­fi­nal. Ghana couldn’t con­vert, and Uruguay went on to win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.