Ghana 1, Serbia 0
The first World Cup in Africa has its first African winner.
Ghana stunned Serbia when Asamoah Gyan scored on an 84th-minute
penalty kick Sunday for a 1-0 victory in Group D. The win set off
celebrations not only on the Loftus Versfeld pitch, but throughout
And across the African continent.
“That’s what you’re seeing,” Ghana midfielder Stephen Appiah
said. “This is the first time the World Cup is held in Africa, and
all Africa is united.”
After the final whistle, the Ghana players ran across the field
in jubilation, some carrying national flags as they received
applause from a crowd that pretty much made them the home team.
“Every African is behind us,” Gyan said. “I salute all you
guys. We win this match for you.”
And for the folks back home.
Large crowds gathered on major streets in Accra. Cars draped in
the national flag swarmed the roads, and some drivers honked their
horns while others sang.
“The Black Stars have started what the African countries in the
tournament have not been able to do so far by winning a match,”
15-year-old viewer Inusah Gariba said. “We have taken the lead and
hopefully an African team – preferably Ghana – would come out tops
in the final.”
That’s a long way off. In the opener for both teams, Zdravko
Kuzmanovic needlessly handled a cross in the area, then argued the
call and the yellow card he received. Gyan drove the penalty kick
high to the left for the only goal
Previously, Ghana missed a series of headers. John Mensah and
Gyan missed the target and Dede Ayew headed against the
Serbia’s only real threat near the end was a shot by Milos
Krasic that was brilliantly saved by Richard Kingson.
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 next Friday).”
Germany shut out Australia 4-0 in the other group game
The only African team to reach the second round at the 2006
World Cup, Ghana nearly got a second goal. Gyan almost made it 2-0
in injury time but hit the post after a burst down the left
“This is all I have worked for, and to be man of the match, it
is fantastic,” he said.
The fast-moving Ghanaians created more chances and could have
been ahead by halftime.
Central defender 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 struggled against well-directed balls into the
Defender Aleksander Korolov produced the first threat to the
Ghanaians with a 30-yard free kick that sailed just wide, and
goalkeeper Richard Kingson fumbled another long range drive by
But they made little use of the height of 6-foot-8 striker
Nikola Zigic, who was replaced in the middle of the second half
having made little impact.
The Serbs finally got close in the 79th when Marko Pantelic left
the ball to Krasic, whose left-footed shot was acrobatically pushed
over the crossbar by Kingson.
Neven Subotic of Salt Lake City made his World Cup debut when he
entered as a sub for Serbia in the 76th minute. Subotic made one
start and three substitute appearances for the U.S. at the 2005
Under-17 World Championship, where he played alongside forward Jozy
Altidore, a member of this year’s American World Cup team.
Subotic left the U.S. national team program after he was passed
over by coach Thomas Rongen for the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. He
made his debut for Serbia in March 2009.