Ghana vs Uruguay: Everyone felt bad but all I think is qualification to the next round – Andre Ayew

Andre Ayew

Ghana and Uruguay has a long ugly history dating back to 2010 in South Africa when the two nations met for the first time in their history. It remains their only meeting to date. Ghana was on the brink of making history by becoming the first and only African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals. This was after the West African country equalled Cameroon and Senegal after overcoming the United States in the Round of 16.

The South Americans was their final obstacle and when the two nations met at the FNB Stadium, it looked possible that Ghana would progress but a late first half Sulley Muntari long ranger was cancelled by Diogo Forlan in the second half setting up a pulsating final 35 minutes of play. They eventually proceeded to extra time and when it was about ending Ghana almost got the job done with a Dominic Adiyiah header goal-bound. However, there was one man who was willing to sacrifice anything for his nation, Luis Suarez: he stopped the ball with his hands after it has beaten every Uruguayan player but him.

Suarez got a yellow card and was sent off for the offence with Ghana given a chance to sail through from the penalty spot with the last kick of the match. Ghana’s poster boy Asamoah Gyan stepped up to the task and with the whole of African and much of the world resting their hopes on him to be the creator of Africa’s biggest history at the tournament, the iconic striker skewed his effort high and out costing Ghana the straight chance to get to the last four.

The next option was to decide the winner via penalties and Gyan stepped up to the task again but this time dispatching his kick well to put Ghana in the lead. However, his compatriots, Dominic Adiyiah and John Mensah missed their kicks as Uruguay claimed a 4-2 win to advance.

It has been 12 years since that moment in South Africa but many Ghanaians cannot forget and Suarez who was the architect of the misery in a pre-match conference absolved himself of the blame as he said it was Gyan who took the penalty and missed and should be blamed not him.

Ghana’s coach Otto Addo has diffused any intent of revenge as has been clamoured by fans but surely Ghanaians will be seeking win over their South American counterparts who are desperate for the points after failing to win a match so far and managing just one draw.

Otto Addo’s men has produced some of the best moments in the tournament so far causing troubles for the high ranked teams it has been pitted against. An inexperienced and lowest ranked Ghana side lost gracefully to Portugal in their opening Group H match thanks to a controversial penalty that was awarded to Christiano Ronaldo and two quickfire goals from Rafael Leao and Joao Felix. It ended 3-2 for the former European champions.

Mohammed Kudus helped Ghana pulled one over South Korea in the second match with a brace that also produced a 3-2 score line but with Ghana earning the maximum points. That put Ghana second on the table with South Korea and Uruguay who lie third and fourth respectively having only a point.

Ghana with a win against Uruguay is guaranteed a place in the next round but if they end up with a draw then Portugal should beat South Korea. Uruguay will, however, need to win against Ghana and hope Portugal beat South Korea or at least draw in order to have a chance.

Andre Ayew is the only player in that Ghana squad that suffered at the hands of Uruguay in 2010 and had this to say, “Everyone felt bad, but all I think about is qualifying for the second round”.

“Revenge or not, we will go out with the same determination and desire to win because we want to qualify,” he said of the goal for today’s match.

Will it be a revenge or it is a normal match as Otto Addo claimed?


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