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International Football

Again, Ghana squander penalty in Uruguay rematch but both crash out



Uruguay’s Sergio Rochet saves a penalty from Ghana’s Andre Ayew REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Ghana squandered an early penalty against Uruguay in their decisive Group H match at the Al Janoub Stadium on Friday, reviving memories of their 2010 World Cup heartbreak suffered at the hands of the same team.

Ghana captain Andre Ayew hit a feeble left-footed effort from the spot in the 21st minute which was saved by goalkeeper Sergio Rochet, who had been adjudged after a lengthy VAR review to have brought down Mohammed Kudus.

Had the goal been scored, the complexion of the game could have changed. Ghana went on to concede two goals which later proved not to be enough for Uruguay as the outcome of thePortugal versus South Korea duel proved a killer punch.

It was 12 years ago in South Africa when Ghana were on the brink of becoming the first African side to play in the semi-finals that Asamoah Gyan’s last-gasp shot at the end of extra time was handled on the line by Luis Suarez.

Suarez was sent off but the subsequent penalty, which would have put the Black Stars into the semis, was hit against the crossbar by Gyan, and Ghana went on to lose the subsequent penalty shootout.

At Qatar 2022, Uruguay failed to progress to the World Cup round of 16 despite a 2-0 win over Ghana.


La Celeste looked set to claim second spot in Group H, but South Korea’s late winner against Portugal saw them advance by virtue of scoring more goals than Diego Alonso’s side.

In their first meeting since a controversial World Cup quarter-final in 2010, which saw Asamoah Gyan miss a penalty after Luis Suarez had been sent off for a handball on the goal-line, Ghana once again paid the price for a squandered spot-kick – this time Ayew failing to find the back of the net.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice soon after that to seal the victory for Uruguay, but it was not enough to see them to avoid an early exit along with Ghana.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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