Denied by the Ref?
Brave Black Stars lose out to Brazil in showpiece friendly..
Mike Dean! Is a name that will live long in the memory of many Ghanaian fans. He is of course the referee who yesterday sent off Ghanaian full back Daniel Opare and in many people’s eyes ruined what had the makings of a great game and of course Ghana’s chance of winning !.
As I took my seat next to OBE television’s Kwaku Ofosu-Asare in the media seating area the atmosphere was started to build in the stadium as the teams came out for the national anthems. I remember looking at my team sheet and comparing the two line-ups and it was clear the Brazilians had the most experienced team out on the pitch (Ronaldihno and Lucio to name but a few as well as the exciting Neymar were all in the starting eleven) nevertheless I was quietly confident about the Ghana team and their chances.
The Black stars made a real positive start to the game with the team setting a good tempo and winning two early corners. Derek Boateng and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu looked like they were stamping their authority on the midfield whilst Jordan Ayew (brother of Andre Ayew) and Sulley Muntari were linking up well, with Daniel Opare looking lively on the left flank. So with 20 Minutes gone Ghana were clearly on top with Brazil not threatening too much, although they did have the ball in the net but goal was ruled out for off side. Then came the turning point as Daniel Opare received his second yellow card and was sent off! (I Didn’t even see the first to be honest) for a foul on Brazil’s captain Lucio this was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Ghanaian fans and left a sour taste in the mouth with a lot of people feeling disappointed they were now watching an uneven match.
How Ironic then that minutes after the dismissal Brazil would take the lead as Leandro Damaio drifted into space (which surely would have been covered by Daniel Opare in the left back position) unopposed to slot the ball coolly past Adam Kwarasey in the Ghana goal after a fine pass by Fernandihno. It was Damaio’s first goal for Brazil and I must say he took it really well.
At half time we were treated to scantily clad Brazilian samba dancers in the rain! It was compelling viewing J and went down well with all the men in the crowd !. So to the second half and the battle on the pitch was not the only battle going on. As Ghanaian and Brazilian fans took part in a chanting match in an attempt to drown out each other’s noise. I would say the Ghanaians won this contest as there were more variety to our chants, such as; “Away, Away”, “ we go score you, we go put pepper in your eyes”, “Brazil u don’t know da ting we are teaching you da ting” and a passionate rendition of the national anthem (hand on heart moment here).
Back to the action and Brazil picked up where they left off with Ghana looking like they were hanging on at times. Adam Kwaresey in the Ghana goal in particular was in inspired form keeping out Brazil with a string of superb saves notably from an Alexandre Pato header and Ronaldihno free kick. The Black stars however were resolute in their display and defended excellently with centre half Jonathan Mensah producing several last ditch tackles and keeping the score line to a respectable one, as the full time whistle blew both teams received ovations from the fans. Overall Brazil deserved their victory but there is no doubt the sending off changed the game and I maintain had Ghana had eleven players on the field for the whole of the match Brazil would have “seen pepper”!
I caught the last 5 minutes of the Ghanaian post match conference where Black stars Coach Goran Stevanovic addressed reporters. Some of the topics discussed were the fine performance of the goalkeeper and whether given the fact Ghana had many injuries was this the best time to play Brazil just one full day after an important CAN qualifier?
I left the stadium feeling disappointed by the result but pleased with the performance in the circumstances. There were a few positives to take out of the match; Adam Kwarasey “man of the match” performance will do a lot to encourage us that there life after Richard Kingson. Jordan Ayew looked lively and dangerous on what was a rare start for him and the way in which our young squad acquitted themselves at the beginning of the game bodes well for the future.
Have your say on the match/views expressed and leave your comments below………
Ben JK Anim-Antwi