Ghana’s Black Stars Disappear Under Uruguayan Sun’s Glare

3 07 2010

Uruguay 1-1 Ghana

(Uruguay advances 4-2 on penalties)

Uruguay v. Ghana in the quarterfinals seemed both an unexpected match up and a fairly neutral one as neither side has a large support in the city (although as the lone African side remaining Ghana was more likely to pick up some extra supporters). I decided to watch this one at a most neutral of venues, The Football Factory just south of Queen and Bathurst.

This is the place where two women can sit side by side, one in a Brazil jersey and one in a Netherlands jersey, and chat about the next game only hours after one friend’s side knocked out the other.  It’s the place where people bring their own vuvuzleas and blow them until the bartender jokingly says cut it out (I’d say it was about eight seconds). It’s a place where there’s an open stool at the bar and TV screens in every direction. In short it’s the kind of place for this afternoon.

For the first twenty minutes it seemed the crowd was as neutral as I’d expected as neither side scored. Ghanaian keeper Richard Kingson added to his resume (since he’ll be looking for a club to play for once the tournament is over) with a save off both members of Uruguay’s dynamic duo of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez.

As the half hour mark approached the loyalties of the crowd became more apparent as each growing chance by the Africans was met with louder and louder applause and cheers from throughout the room as both John Mensah and Asamoah Gyan had shots end up on the wrong side of each post.

At the stroke of half time Ghana scored first. Sulley Muntari curled a shot from about thirty-five yards into the corner deceiving the Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera for a 1-nil Ghana lead. The decibel level shot up and the Ghanaian flags were unfurled. The crowd had a definite loyalty now.

Ten minutes after the re-start Diego Forlan continued his strong tourney (and strong free kicks, swerving one past Kingson) leveling the score with his third of the World Cup. Now the cheers for Ghana were louder. A pair of Peruvian fans joined the proceedings, one in a red jersey and one in white. If they were behind their fellow South Americans they weren’t making it known. They were just getting ready for 2014 I suppose.

The tension continued building as full time came to its dramatic conclusion. Suarez made his contribution, not by scoring but by deciding to play volleyball with Dominic Adiyiah’s shot on net. He was called for the handball and red carded. As stoppage time was coming to a close Asamoah Gyan stepped up to take the ensuing penalty. With what should have ended the game, with the crowd in the bar up on its feet for the final moment, Gyan hit the crossbar sending everybody into stunned disbelief. Suarez’s move, I have to admit was fairly sketchy, looked genius given how things turned out.

Extra time played out as the tension of the second half continued, leading to the unfortunate penalty kicks to decide which Cinderella story continued on to the semi finals. Ghana seemed to rush through their kicks in my opinion resulting in a pair of saves by Mulsera. Uruguay survived a miss on their first kick and scored on their last four to move on while Ghana saw victory in their hands (if not in Suarez’s hands) slip away. For the 1930 and 1950 Champions, their unexpected renaissance continues on as the Football Factory emptied out.

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One response

3 07 2010
World Wide News Flash

Ghana?s Black Stars Disappear Under Uruguayan Sun?s Glare…

I found your entry interesting so I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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