The hand that robbed Africa

2010-07-02 21:57

Ghana 1

Uruguay 1

Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties

Uruguay shattered another African dream as they bundled out the

continent’s remaining hope in the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

This result ensured that Uruguay are yet to lose to an African

opponent in the world football spectacle.

It was a Luis Suárez handball that became a catalyst to his side

winning the quarter-final when Ghana were on the brink of making history.

Luck deserted Asamoah Gyan as he shot against the crossbar from the

penalty spot in the injury time of extra-time. Captain John Mensah and Dominic

Adiyiah also missed their penalties during the shootout.

Given Ghana’s spirited showing in the tournament, Uruguay coach

Oscar Tabarez was not going to underestimate them.

“Celeste” changed from their trusted 4-3-3 formation and stuck to a

traditional 4-4-2 where they had Diego Forlán and Suarez in the two-prong


In contrast, the Black Stars who were minus André Ayew owing to

suspension, kept to their target man strategy with Gyan the lone ranger in the


As it has been their approach, the South Americans went on the

offensive but Ghana soaked up the pressure well with keeper Richard Kingson

called early into action to deny Forlán and Suarez in the opening quarter.

The Black Stars eventually broke free from the shackles and came

close to scoring on the half-hour mark but defender Isaac Vorsah sent his header

agonisingly wide.

The attempt spurred the Africans on until Sulley Muntari let rip on

the stroke of half-time to score.

But John Pantsil conceded a free kick that would became suicidal as

the resultant kick from Forlán showed why the Athlético Madrid man is still

rated among the best deadball specialists in the game.

The second stanza became a display of poor finishing by the two

sides, particularly Ghana who launched a number of counter-attacks only for the

likes of Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng to freeze in the opposition goal


The attitude somehow changed in extra-time with luck proving the

only obstacle.

In the dying minutes, the crowd of 84 017 was put on its toes as

Ghana pressed hard until Suarez brought his stupidity to the fore by using his

hand to clear Adiyiah’s goal-bound header.

The Ajax Amsterdam player was sent off and the game headed into

penalties after Gyan crashed the crossbar from the resultant spotkick at the



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