Third times’s the charm? Not in football as Uruguay break Ghanaian hearts in penalty shoot-out, ending Africa’s hopes of a home victory. Once more the African team fail to reach the final four.
It took 120 minutes and a dramatic penalty shoot out to decide who would progress to the finale four in this epic quarter final of the 2010 World Cup.
Sulley Muntari gave the Africans a well worked lead late in the first half, but Diego Forlan equalised soon after the break with a wonderfully struck free-kick from just outside the area. The game was decided after penalties - the score was 4-2 in favour of the South Americans.
Uruguay’s Diego Forlan was estatic : "When Asamoah Gyan hit the bar it was unbelievable. You go through so many feelings in the shootout, I can’t believe we won. The way we worked together, the fact we’re in the last four in the World Cup, it’s unbelievable."
The game could have gone both ways but both Kingson and Muslera were reliable and denied Asamoah, Suarez or Forlan’s attempts. Both keepers remained stoic as the pressure pilled on them. Mainly because of the strikers’ own lack of lucidity in the box. So many wasted opportunities…
This quarter final wasn’t the most exciting game of the tournament but it was worth watching for the ending. 120th minute, the ref is about to whistle. Unbelievable scenes. One of the most extraordinary ends to a game you could imagine. A Ghana corner is glanced on and Fernando Muslera cannot punch properly clear - Dominic Adiyiah has one shot from six yards blocked on the line by Luis Suarez, before Adiyiah’s next effort, a header, is punched off the line by Suarez. The striker is sent off and Asamoah Gyan steps up to take the penalty.
It went from riches to rags for Ghana and Africa as Gyan missed a last second penalty. The Rennes forward had the chance to propulse both Africa and Ghana in the semi finals of a World Cup for the first time ever. Match point. But the crossbar got in the way of the African dream of a home win.
Cruel cruel disappointment for the Black Stars who fail in the final 16, as Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002 did before them. Mensah and Adiyiah missed their penalties. Soccer City is eerily quiet as the Black Stars head home.