Connect with us


Ghana 0-2 Uruguay: Both sides eliminated despite win, Suarez show ends in pain



Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in a breathless match at the 2022 World Cup, with Andre Ayew missing an early penalty for the latter. Diego Alonso’s South Americans looked likely to reach the last 16 alongside group winners Portugal, but then South Korea leapfrogged them with a late goal against Cristiano Ronaldo and company in the other Group H match being played simultaneously, to set up a likely last-16 meeting with favourites Brazil on Monday..

Luis Suarez pulled his shirt over his head. The perfect evening was ruined by a stoppage-time South Korean winner against Portugal which ended his World Cup dreams — at age 35, probably forever.

His face, close to tears, appeared on the big screen. The Ghana fans made their feelings known one last time.

For 65 minutes, Suarez had loved every minute of his side’s victory over Uruguay. He had done everything he could but it was all in vain. He had been substituted, only to then hear the news that South Korea had beaten Portugal to snatch Group H’s second spot in the last 16.

In the first half when life was good, Suarez raced out towards the corner flag, chasing a loose ball. He collected possession and was faced by Inaki Williams. In the blink of an eye, he was past him with his trademark nutmeg. The crowd’s groan was audible.

This was Suarez rolling back the years. The nuisance, the genius, and a man who can be the defining influence in big games.

He picked the game to arrive at this World Cup. That’s his character, one who feeds off big moments — and off playing the villain. In the build-up, a Ghanaian journalist had referred to Suarez directly as the “devil” and that his country wanted to retire him.

The anger over the events in the 2010 World Cup, and Suarez’s infamous handball, remain fresh in the minds of everybody in Ghana. The boos were loud every time he touched the ball here but it only fuelled him. He was part of everything positive Uruguay did, posing a threat, knitting play together and winning fouls.

His two first-half assists had made the difference. For the first, he worked space in the box. His shot was saved before being headed home by Giorgian de Arrascaeta. The second was excellent vision and quick thinking to lift a lobbed pass into the same man’s path.

READ ALSO  Reason Why I Will Never Apologize To Nigerians For The 2010 World Cup Miss - Aiyegbeni Says

This was it. The perfect moment for revenge. Andre Ayew stood over the stationary ball, ready to banish the memories of Asamoah Gyan and the heartbreak of 12 years ago.

It was a chance to take the lead with last-16 qualification up for grabs — another opportunity for Ghana to send Uruguay home from a World Cup.

Referee Daniel Siebert, via the help of VAR, adjudged goalkeeper Sergio Rochet had fouled Mohammed Kudus.

Ayew was already by the penalty spot, ball in hand, when the decision was relayed. He looked calm and composed, there was no need for a decoy penalty taker. Uruguay’s protests began with Suarez. They continued back into their 18-yard box, with every player getting involved, delaying the kick.

The Ghanaian team were not going to allow Uruguay to try to scuff up the penalty spot. In a group, they stood around it. Darwin Nunez picked up a yellow card for his involvement.

Everything calmed and Ayew stepped up, five minutes and 10 seconds after the foul had taken place. Research suggests delays before a penalty gets taken are linked with a reduction in success rate (ie, scoring) of up to 20 per cent.

It was a long time to think. Ayew may have benefited from walking away from the chaos rather than standing in the middle of it.

The stuttering run up, his trademark, was performed with uncertainty. His shot was weak; Rochet dived the right way, treading a fine line with his feet placement when the penalty was taken, and saved it.

READ ALSO  Buffon Joins Messi, Ronaldo On UEFA Shortlist
Follow us on social media: