Gyan penalty gives Ghana 1-0 win over Serbia
Asamoah Gyan scored an 85th-minute penalty Sunday to help Ghana
to a 1-0 victory over Serbia and the first win by an African team
at this World Cup.
Gyan sent the spot kick high into the net for the only goal at
Loftus Versfeld after Ghana had missed a series of headed chances.
The Ghanaians earned the penalty when Zdravko Kuzmanovic handled a
cross in the area.
“This is all I have worked for,” Gyan said, “and to be man of
the match, it is fantastic.”
After the final whistle, the Ghanaians ran across the field in
celebration, some carrying national flags to receive the applause
of a crowd which had almost made them the home team.
“Every African is behind us,” Gyan said. “I salute all you
guys. We win this match for you.”
Stephen Appiah said Ghana received support from the South
“That’s what you’re seeing,” Appiah said. “This is the first
time the World Cup is held in Africa, and all Africa is
Ghana achieved the victory despite the absence of the nation’s
best player, Michael Essien, who was ruled out of the World Cup
with a long term right knee problem.
John Mensah and Gyan missed the target earlier, and Dede Ayew
headed against the post. Serbia’s only real threat near the end was
a shot by Milos Krasic that was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper
The Serbs had Aleksandar Lukovic sent off in the 74th minute for
a second yellow card.
“For sure, this is a big blow for us. To start a World Cup with
a defeat is a bad thing,” Serbia coach Radomir Antic said. “We
will use all our energy to be positive when preparing for the next
game (against Germany on June 18).”
Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic said the handball may have
resulted from the wayward flight of the World Cup ball, which was
strongly criticized by players ahead of the competition for
“I think that many players say this ball is not so easy to
control,” the center back said. “I think more in the air than the
feet. I think all teams have problems with the long balls and
crosses. The ball moves a little bit different. But it was the same
for them and for us.”
Ghana, the only African team to reach the last 16 at the 2006
World Cup in Germany, had the vast majority of the support among
the South Africans in the stadium. The fast-moving Ghanaians
created more chances and should have been ahead by halftime.
Mensah headed a free kick wide of the far post and Gyan failed
to reach a left wing cross by Kevin-Prince Boateng as the Serb
defense failed to deal with well-directed balls into the
Defender Aleksander Korolov produced the first danger to the
Ghanaians with a 30-meter (yard) free kick that sailed wide and
Kingson fumbled another long range drive by Dejan Stankovic.
But they made little use of the height of 2.03 meter (6-foot-8)
striker Nikola Zigic, who went off in the middle of the second half
after making little impact.
Ghana created another headed chance from a cross when Ayew got
clear of the defenders in the 54th minute but headed wide of the
far post with only the goalkeeper to beat. Then, a glancing header
by Gyan flicked outside of the near post.
The Serbs finally got close in the 79th when Marko Pantelic left
the ball to Krasic, whose first time left-footer was acrobatically
pushed over the bar by Kingson. From the corner, Nemanja Vidic
In injury time, Gyan almost made it 2-0 but Gyan hit the post
after a burst down the left.
Serbia: Vladimir Stojkovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Vidic,
Branislav Ivanovic, Marko Pantelic (Neven Subotic, 76), Dejan
Stankovic, Aleksandar Lukovic, Milan Jovanovic, Nikola Zigic (Danko
Lazovic, 70), Milos Krasic, Nenad Milijas (Zdravko Kuzmanovic,
Ghana: Richard Kingson, Hans Adu Sarpei, John Pantsil, John
Mensah, Isaac Vorsah, Anthony Annan, Dede Ayew, Asamoah Gyan
(Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, 90), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Lee Addey, 90),
Prince Tagoe, Kwado Asamoah (Stephen Appiah, 72).