Korea Republic vs Ghana Match Report
By Tom Pople
A must-win game for both teams in Group H started with South Korea on the front foot, creating 2 or 3 good chances within the first ten minutes, as well as taking three corners to Ghana’s zero. There were no major chances for either team, though, but the Korea Republic felt they should've capitalised on their early dominance
The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute. Completely against the run of play Ghana got the first goal. A fantastic ball into the Korean box by Jordan Ayew failed to be dealt with properly, and it was a good finish on the turn by Mohammed Salisu to knock the ball into the back of the net. There was a suspected handball in the buildup, but the VAR team stuck with referee Anthony Taylor's original decision and let the goal stand.
"File:Puma 2010 World Cup Ghana football gear.JPG" by BrokenSphere is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
With Ghana getting into the game after their opener, the second yellow card of the match, and the Korea Republic’s first, was given to Jung Woo Young after wrestling down Mohamed Kudus who was breaking through the Korea Republic’s midfield.
The ‘Black Stars’ kept up their momentum after the goal, and the early pressure the Korean Republic had shown early in the game had completely disappeared. This was evidenced by the game's second goal, a goal not too dissimilar from the first, scored by Mohammed Kudus. Another exquisite ball into the box from Jordan Ayew met Kudus’ head, and with the slightest of touches sent the ball past Seung Gyu Kim into the Korea Republic’s goal.
After 5 minutes of added stoppage time at the end of the first half, it was Ghana who deservedly went into the break 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Mohammed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus. Although the Korea Republic started extremely well, the early spirit faded after Ghana's first goal went in, and they couldn’t regain that same momentum. Jordan Ayew was the key man in the first half, and both goals came from excellent crosses from the Crystal Palace man.
Gue Sung-Cho had his second shot on target in the game, this time scoring, in an almost identical manner to his first shot on target 7 minutes previous. A lovely ball in from Lee Kang-In was attacked superbly by Cho, as he guided his header into the net. Salisu, who grabbed Ghana's first will be disappointed with his defending, letting Cho run across him and getting the wrong side of him.
Three minutes later in the 61st minute, the game was level once more. Gue Sung-Cho with his third-headed shot on target of the game resulted in the Korea Republic’s second goal. Once again a cross in from the left by-line met a leaping Cho, as he rose above the Ghanaian defence and guided a powerful header into the back of the next. The Ghanaian defenders were caught flat-footed, and Cho pounced.
What a game indeed. After being level again for only 7 minutes, the 6th shot on target of the game produced the 5th goal. A classy attacking move from Ghana ended in Mohammed Kudus slotting away his second of the game. Another goal resulted from a cross, this time from Mensah on Ghana's left-hand side, picking out Inaki Williams who completely miskicked the ball, getting the slightest touch to help it through to Kudus, who placed it neatly into the goal.
In the 73rd minute, Tariq Lamptey of Brighton picked up his first yellow card of the tournament for a foul on Tottenham Hotspurs Heung Min Son. The resulting freekick was a good one from Lee Kang In, forcing Ait-Zigi to get down well and tip the shot away for a corner. Maintaining pressure on the Ghanaian defence, the Korea Republic should’ve equalised once more. Kim Jin-Su found himself free at the far post but scuffed his shot, allowing Salisu to scamper back and clear his effort off the line.
The final half an hour was a frantic flurry of attacks from the Korea Republic but unfortunately for the Asian side, nothing would fall for them, and even with the additional ten minutes added on, credit must be given to Ghana who defended resolutely and stopped captain Heung Min-Son and his men from breaking through. This result sees Ghana push up to second in the group and the Korea Republic drop to last, however with the two favourites Portugal and Uruguay to still playing each other, anything could still happen in this group. Ghana put themselves in a great position to be in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, and after narrowly missing out on a point against Portugal, their final group game against Uruguay should be a cracker. The Korea Republic, on the other hand, will have to battle hard against a world-class Portugal in their final game, whilst hoping the other fixtures in the group swing their way. Whilst it is not impossible for the ‘Taeguk Warriors’ to qualify, the odds are certainly stacked against them. The final games for group H take place on Friday 2nd December, with everything still to play for.