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Uruguay into World Cup semis in 40 years with dramatic narrow escape

07-03-2010 08:36 BJT Special Report: World Cup 2010 |

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 2 (Xinhua) -- What a dramatic, stunning and heartbreaking World Cup quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana here on Friday.

Asamoah Gyan (R) of Ghana vies with Andres Scotti of Uruguay during their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 2, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Ga)
Asamoah Gyan (R) of Ghana vies with Andres Scotti of Uruguay during their 2010
World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg,
South Africa, on July 2, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

After 120 minutes and a 1-1 draw at Soccer City, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was sent off in the final minute of extra time for blocking the ball with his hands on the line, but Ghana's No. 1 striker Asamoah Gyan, who had collected three goals in the World Cup, hit the bar with his spot-kick to send the tie to a penalty shootout.

Ghana, who was so close to make history of becoming the first-ever African team to enter World Cup semifinals, collapsed as skipper John Mensah and forward Dominic Adiyiah missed to send Uruguay through to a semifinal clash against the Netherlands, as Uruguay forward Sebastian Abreu chipped the winner down the middle to fix the final score at 4-2.

Gyan, the striker from French Ligue 1 side Rennes, bursted into tears after the loss. Soccer City was deathly silent as most Ghana players collapsed in tears, while Uruguay celebrated their first semifinal appearance in 40 years.

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said after the match that his two key players could not be fielded for injury but Ghana played very well tonight.

"We really had more chances to advance," he said with tears in his eyes.

"This is football," he added.

A 30-yard powerful shot from Inter Milan player Sulley Muntari in the 45th minute found the net and lifted Ghana to 1-0 lead at halftime.

Uruguay star striker Diego Forlan got the equaliser in the 55th minute. His glorious free kick bent over the wall, dipping and swerving, and touched the top right corner of the net.

Forlan, the Man of the Match, said, "It's incredible. Let the people party and enjoy this, we will rest and prepare for Tuesday's semifinal with the Netherlands."

Both sides played cautiously in the first half.

The 24th minute saw the first shot at goal for Forlan who slipped in and exchanged passes with Arevalo before bending an effort high and wide.

Around 29th minute, Ghana made two scoring chances but squandered both. Defender Isaac Vorsah climbed excellently above Lugano, his powerful header on a corner was inches wide.

Then, a fantastic run from forward Kevin Prince Boateng made himself cut inside and found Asamoah Gyan who guided the ball towards goal, only to see it end up just the wrong side of the post.

Boateng brought down the house in the 44th minute when his brilliant bicycle kick in the box slightly missed the target.

Forlan's partner Suarez found a golden chance in the 63rd minute when Forlan plucked the ball out of the air fantastically and lifted an excellent ball to Suarez at the back post, who guided the ball wide.

Both sides had to enter the extra time in which the two played openly and the match featured attackings and counter-attackings until the last-second thriller.


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