Uruguay beats Ghana, but South Korea’s triumph knocks them both out of the Cup

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Twelve years later, Uruguay again frustrated Ghana’s expectations in a World Cup. The difference is that, this time, Celeste Olímpica had the same fate as its rivals: elimination. This Friday (2), the South Americans beat Estrelas Negras by 2-0 at the Al Janoub Stadium, in Al Wakrah. Both, however, said goodbye to the World Cup in Qatar.

The Uruguayans finished Group H with the same four points as South Korea, which was ahead, in second place, by the number of goals scored (four to two). In a simultaneous game, at Estádio da Educação, in Doha, the Asians defeated Portugal – which played with a team almost entirely reserve, as it was already classified in advance – by 2-1. of the second half, which decreed the comeback of the South Koreans, forced the South Americans to seek the 3-0, which did not occur. With three points, the Ghanaians finished the bracket in last place.

Had it happened, the Uruguayan classification would have had the decisive participation of a well-known player in Brazilian football: Giorgian de Arrascaeta. Reserve in the first two games, having played for only 28 minutes in the 2-0 defeat by Portugal, in the last round, the Flamengo midfielder was in the starting line-up this Friday and scored both goals for Celeste.

The duel made fans from both countries remember the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. At the time, Ghana and Uruguay tied 1-1 in the match valid for the quarterfinals. In the last move of the match, Luís Suárez saved Dominic Adiyiah’s point-blank header in the area with his hands. The Uruguayan was expelled. Fellow striker Asamoah Gyan had the opportunity for the Ghanaian victory in the penalty kick, but hit the crossbar. On penalties, Celeste conceded, 4-2. As fate would have it, the wasted shot was precisely that of Adiyiah, saved by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (who, like Suárez, was part of the South American team in Qatar). Rochet’s monumental save from the Ghana penalty!

Former midfielder Otto Addo, current Ghanaian coach, was part of that Black Stars squad. For this Friday’s game, the coach repeated the 4-3-3 of the 3-2 victory over South Korea, with only two changes. Title holders in the 3-2 defeat by Portugal, in the first round, the full-backs Alidu Seidu and Abdul-Rahman Baba returned in the places of Tariq Lamptey and Gideon Mensah (who left the game against the South Koreans with ankle pain).

In Uruguay, Diego Alonso dropped back in formation with three defenders and also set up the team in the 4-3-3, as in the debut, when Celeste drew 0-0 with South Korea. Up front, Suárez took over the place that belonged to Edinson Cavani against Portugal, while Arrascaeta and Facundo Pellistri left the most offensive team, inheriting the places of defender Diego Godín and midfielder Matías Vecino.

The Uruguayans started the match on top, but showing some anxiety in the last pass. After 15 minutes of South American pressure, Gana fitted in a counterattack with Jordan Ayew, who received it on the left end, close to the area’s entrance, charged to the half moon and tapped it, to the defense of Sérgio Rochet. In the spare, the midfielder Mohammed Kudus shared with the goalkeeper and fell in the area. The penalty was called with the intervention of the video referee (VAR), but striker André Ayew, Jordan’s brother (both sons of Abedi Pelé, the biggest name in Ghanaian football) made the African fan relive the nightmare of 2010, by charging weakly, low, facilitating Rochet’s defense.

It didn’t take long for the Black Stars to be punished. At 22 minutes, striker Darwin Núñez countered with Arrascaeta, shot past goalkeeper Lawrence Zigi and saw defender Mohammed Salisu save at the top of the line. Three minutes later, there was no “almost”: Núñez crossed from the left, the defense did not take it and the ball was left with Suárez in the area. The attacker dribbled Seidu and finished. Zigi defended, but Arrascaeta, on the rebound, headed it into the net.

The Uruguayan number 10 needed another five minutes to increase the advantage. In the 30th minute, Núñez received it from Pellistri at the edge of the area and headed it over to Suárez. The scorer of a “waiter” and opened on the left for the Flamengo midfielder to finish first.

The goals changed the face of the match, with Uruguay starting to work the ball with more patience and Ghana, trying to recover from the blow, needing to launch ahead. On the return of the break, André and Jordan Ayew were replaced by strikers Osman Bukari and Kamaldeen Sulemana. In the 17th minute, the duo nearly scored the first Ghanaian goal. “Almost”, because, after Sulemana’s cross, from the left, Rochet was slow to leave the goal and Bukari arrived late to complete in the small area.

Uruguay, on the other hand, had the counterattack available to take advantage of the spaces left by Ghana’s marking. In the 18th minute, midfielder Federico Valverde received from Núñez and found Suárez in the area, on the left. The number 9 shirt rolled for Pellistri to finish close to the left of the goal, next to the crossbar. Five minutes later, Valverde set up a first-rate bomb, almost from the middle on the left. The ball bounced on the ground and hit Zigi’s left corner, which he managed to palm.

As time passed, Ghana’s mission became more difficult. The Black Stars did not give up. In the 32nd minute, striker Antoine Semenyo received the ball close to the small area, on the left, but finished badly, low, next to the Uruguayan goal. Two minutes later, Kudus forced Rochet to make a beautiful save, sending a ball from Kudus, from half moon, to a corner.

The information about South Korea’s comeback over Portugal reached the 37th minute and turned the final stretch of the match at Al Janoub into drama. Desperate, the Uruguayans intensified the pressure in search of the third goal, but stopped in excellent defenses by Zigi. At 42 minutes, Cavani, with a header, in an irregular position, forced the goalkeeper to perform an acrobatic intervention. In stoppage time, the archer went all out to save another shot from outside Valverde’s area.

The classification goal, however, did not come out, decreeing the elimination of the two teams. After the final whistle, referee Daniel Siebert was surrounded by Uruguayan players, revolted by the failure to score a supposed penalty in the 12th minute of the second half, on top of Núñez, by defender Daniel Amartey. The German judge was called to the video to check the move, but upheld the field decision.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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