Ghana defeated South Korea 3-2 in a frantic and absolutely frenetic encounter, thanks to a Mohammed Kudus brace and a Mohammed Salisu header, breaking Korean hearts in a high stakes clash for both sides.
The game was hard fought from the start, with both teams creating decent openings but no end product. It looked like one of those games that would end in a draw until Kudus smashed in to give Ghana the victory.
HERE ARE THE FIVE TAKE-AWAYS FROM THE GAME
- 1. Ghana triumphs in a must-win game
This was always going to be a tight, tense match with more tension than quality. The stakes were extremely high for both teams, who were both looking for their first victory of the tournament.
The game ebbed and flowed, with Ghana’s more patient, considered approach allowing them to exert early control, leading to their two-goal lead. South Korea, on the other hand, came on strong in the early minutes of the second half and pulled even.
During that time, the Black Stars held their ground, regrouped, scored the winner, and maintained their slim lead. South Korea created their own opportunities and, on another day, could have emerged victorious.
2. Mohammed Kudus breathes new life into the Black Stars.
The Black Stars have frequently been undone by a lack of pace and final-third scoring ability. Otto’s lad was all too often a non-threat when it really mattered. Not any longer, thanks to the presence of Ajax Amsterdam’s Mohammed Kudus, Addo’s side now has at least one player capable of finding the back of the net on a regular basis.
With South Korea on top in the first half, Kudus’ willing running and skills sparked something in both a raucous stadium and his teammates, swinging the balance Ghana’s way in the second. His example of intelligently pressing from the front encouraged others to do the same.
3. It didn’t take long for Addo’s charges to lose their ferocity.
The Black Stars started the game with great zeal, asserting their authority on their opponents, popping the ball around at breakneck speed and making the Koreans do a lot of running, and managed to score two goals before the break, with their attacking play fizzling out later in the second half and almost getting punished in dramatic fashion as the Koreans came from a two goal deficit to draw level after the break.
With Uruguay as their next opponent, the Black Stars must perform above expectations throughout the game in order to defeat the South Americans.
It appears that Addo will need to find a way to secure a good result on Friday if he is to have any chance of seeing his side in the round of 16. It’s right up there in terms of must-win games.
4. Say it quietly: Lawrence Ati Zigi is an excellent goalkeeper.
Ati Zigi, who has firmly established himself as the Black Stars’ number one goalkeeper in Qatar, put in another assured performance on Monday. The goalkeeper has taken some time to settle since making his Ghana debut, but Otto Addo’s decision to start him ahead of Abdul Manaf Nurudeen and Danlad Ibrahim paid off. In a game completely dominated by Asians, he delivered in both halves.
Point blank saves and the ability to organise his defence were signs of growing confidence, and despite conceding a goal, his ability was never called into question.
Jordan Ayew muzzles his detractors.
Great players use special occasions to make their presence known. Many Ghana fans have criticized the Crystal Palace forward for his inability to find the back of the net.
They disparage him at every opportunity, ignoring how productive he can be on a good day.
Fortunately for Ayew, he was given the chance to prove his critics wrong, and he never let them down. On the day, he assisted on two of Ghana’s three goals. He was perfect for Otto Addo’s side.