“I think it’s a piece of history that we just saw,” former German soccer star Jurgen Klinsmann told fellow ESPN commentators after the Ghana vs. Serbia game. “I think it’s awesome for this continent.”
The South African crowd at the match bore witness to that, erupting in elation after the final whistle. But they had more than just African solidarity to cheer for: They had just been treated to probably the most exciting match so far this World Cup.
Ghana looked impressive against a technically superb Serbian team that won seven of ten of their qualifying games coming into the Cup. By the end the worn-down Serbians had to be thankful the final score wasn’t more lopsided.
The Black Stars came out hard at the beginning of game, but were held scoreless in the first half.
Undeterred, they repeated the pressure early in the second half.
It should have been a sure goal.
A few minutes later, Asamoah Gyan shaved the post with another header.
By that time of the match, Ghana controlled the flow of the game with crisp, short passes and lovely runs toward goal.
Serbia seemed to be content with relying on the counterattack, perhaps even playing to survive with a 0-0 tie.
But then, they suffered a serious setback.
Aleksandar Lukovic arned a silly red card in the 73rd minute for holding the arm of a Ghanaian player. He already had a yellow card, so he was sent off.
Nearly ten minutes later, it got worse.
The Argentine referee caught Zdravko Kuzmanovic touching the ball with his hand in the box.
Gyan blasted the penalty kick in the center of the net before running to the corner of the field to dance for the crowd.
Ghana nearly put a few more goals in for good measure.
Tagoe almost scored in the 88th minute. And Gyan almost got his second goal in injury time with a beautiful shot that managed to curl around the Serbian goalkeeper, but couldn’t get inside the post.
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