Tag: John Pantsil


CAN 2012 Match Report from Ben…

Super goals from Asamoah Gyan & Ayew give Ghana Football Team victory over Mali

The Blackstars virtually assured themselves a place in the quarter-finals of the CAN with win over Mali. In a much improved performance from the first game two stunning second half strikes from Asamoah Gyan and Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew was the difference in Franceville.

Ghana made two changes from the first match against Botswana with Jonathan Mensah coming in for suspended skipper John Mensah. Playmaker, Kwadwo Asamoah also returned to the side in place of Jordan Ayew, while John Pantsil took over captain. For Mali star player Seydou Keita shook off a slight injury to retain his place in their starting line up. The game started at a high tempo with the Ghana having the lion share of possession. Asamoah had a shot from 25 yards which was spilled by Guinea keeper Soumaila Diakite but Sulley Muntari could only put his follow up shot wide under pressure from the defender.

As the half went on Mali began to grow into the game and were unlucky not score when a free kick from Cheick Diabate hit both posts (yes both!) after beating Ghana keeper Kwaresey. Mali midfielder Abdou Traore then saw his follow-up sail over. Towards the end of the half Ghana hit Mali on the counter attack with Pantsil playing a ball into the penalty box and Dede Ayew glancing his header agonisingly wide. A decent chance one would have to say.

To the second half and Ghana come out knowing they have to do more to get the win. They started with more purpose and 10 minutes into the half Dede Ayew zips in a shot at Diakite, which the Malian goalkeeper spills, but does well to prevent a follow-up from Gyan. It was looking increasingly likely that something special would be needed to break the deadlock and then it came; when Gyan opened his Nations Cup account in some style by curling in beautifully a free-kick from just outside the area beautifully into the top corner. A wonderful goal.

The goal gave Ghana more confidence as they began to come forward. The Blackstars doubled their lead 12 minutes later with a brilliantly-taken solo effort from the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year ‘Dede’ Ayew. Fellow goalscorer Gyan back-flicked the ball into his path cleverly, then Ayew did the rest himself by wrong-footing the Mali defence before switching feet skilfully and firing home with his left at the near post. Another great goal. Ghana were in the driving seat and held on for a vital deserved win after a better second half performance.

Ghana now go into the last game needing just a point to win the group. Guinea’s 6-1 win in the other game means they Mali and even Botswana (a very small chance) could still qualify.

What are your thoughts on the game? Leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Asamoah Gyan eyes England friendly game

Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan is looking forward to the friendly clash with England later in the month and is pleased he will not have to travel far for the game.

The Black Stars take on the Three Lions at Wembley on 29th March in a sell-out match in London, although they take on DR Congo two days earlier.

Sunderland ace Gyan, 25, admits it can be tough when travelling for friendly matches abroad but admits he has to do the job for his country.

“Sometimes for friendly games, if you travel from Europe to South American countries, it’s a long flight and everything,” he said.

“That is what we have to do. We are sportsmen and we have to travel.”

Michael Essien continues to take a break from the national team and will not face some of his Chelsea team-mates so Ghana’s new coach Goran Stevanovic opts for a tried and tested combination with one new cap and one recall.

Daniel Opare of Standard Liege gets a recall and striker Nathaniel Asamoah from Asante Kotoko is called up for the first time.

Meanwhile, Jordan Ayew misses out on the 24-man squad so he will not play alongside his brother Andre for the two games.

Fulham defender John Pantsil is eagerly anticipating the friendlies and admits it is still an honour to play for Ghana.

He said: “It is very important. Every player wants to play for his national team and it’s a good achievement.”

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