For the American team, it was an opportunity to gain the revenge they’ve been seeking for four years. For Ghana, it was a chance to remain the only African nation still alive in the 19th FIFA World Cup.
In the end, Ghana reached its goal, surviving with a 2-1 win to eliminate the United States from World Cup play, just as they did during the 2006 tournament.
It took the Africans 123 minutes of play to escape with a victory against the tough Americans, who fought back from an early 1-0 deficit to force Ghana into extra time.
American Ricardo Clark was stripped of the ball in the open field, leading to a goal by Ghana’s Kevin Prince Boateng during the fifth minute of the extra session. But as they did throughout the entire group play stage, the U.S. came back to tie the game, this time with a goal on a penalty kick by Landon Donovan during the 62nd minute.
But Ghana’s speed gave them an advantage which paid off in the opening minutes of overtime, as Asamoah Gyan soared past the American defense to boot a powerful left-footed kick into the goal, pushing Ghana ahead, 2-1.
The Americans tried to pull off another last-minute comeback, but this time they simply couldn’t get it done.
“It’s been our mantra, but unfortunately you can’t do it every time,” Donovan told reporters of the U.S. team’s reputation for comeback victories. “We were a little naÔve tonight. At this level you can’t do that. It’s frustrating, considering all the work we put in.”