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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ghana win place in last 16

Ghana win place in last 16

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June 22, 2006 22:09 IST

Ghana won a place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over the United States in a Group E decider on Thursday they largely controlled.

A stoppage time penalty just before the break, converted by captain Stephen Appiah, secured the required three points after the United States' Clint Dempsey had cancelled out Ghana's initial goal by Haminu Dramani.

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The U.S. struck the post midway through the second half, but otherwise, with a lone striker for much of the match, caused the Ghanaian defence few problems.

The Africans, who lost 2-0 to Italy in their first match, finished second in Group E and are likely to play Group F leaders Brazil for a place in the quarter-finals but will be without midfield inspiration Michael Essien.

His crunching tackle on Reyna in the first half brought his second consecutive yellow card of the tournament.

Ghana were the more combative for most of the match, although they struggled to find their rhythm early on against a United States team missing key centre back, Eddie Pope, and holding midfielder Pablo Mastroeni through suspension.

LEG INJURY

They also lost captain Claudio Reyna towards the end of the first half.  

Ghana took the lead in the 22nd minute when midfielder Haminu Draman dispossessed Reyna and strode into the penalty area to curl the ball past a diving Kasey Keller. Reyna appeared to pick up a leg injury in the process.

Midfielder Dempsey fired the U.S. back on level terms two minutes from the break after DaMarcus Beasley cracked in a low cross from the left following a defensive mix-up among three Ghanaians.

But within four minutes Appiah had cracked the spot kick into the top left corner after Razak Pimpong had been pushed in the area.

U.S. coach Bruce Arena threw on forward Eddie Johnson to join striker Brian McBride for the last half hour, a move that kick-started a series of U.S. assaults on the Ghanaian goal.

McBride struck the post in the 66th minute with a header from an Eddie Lewis cross.

Oguchi Onyewu rose above the Ghanaian defence from a corner only a minute later, but his header passed just above the crossbar.

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