Soccer / Sports

Ghana all tuned up for Americans

MIAMI -- The Ghana national team wanted a solid showing. Black Stars substitute Jordan Ayew probably wanted to make a good last impression before the World Cup starting lineups were chosen. The small, bouncing Ghana crowd chanted "We want USA! We want USA!"

Afterward, South Korean media wanted answers.

The Black Stars got what they wanted in a 4-0 win over South Korea in Monday night's friendly at Sun Life Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 4,139. Ayew, the 22-year-old son of two-time African Player of the Year Abedi Pele, got a hat trick. The Ghana crowd gets what it wants on June 16 when Ghana and the United States meet for the third consecutive time in the World Cup.

That's why U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann lurked in the stadium on a scouting trip.

Klinsmann could avoid the media. South Korea coach Hong Myung-Bo couldn't.

Hong faced a large, grilling media contingent, some of which stayed to ask Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah what he would do if his team lost a friendly 4-0 with the World Cup a week away.

"I don't normally look at the score line," Appiah said. "I look at the performance. I believe we performed really well. We took (advantage) of our chances. Fine, we won. But we've still got some work to do."

Possibly add Ghana's Majeed Waris to the list of injured players missing the World Cup after injuries in friendlies over the past two weeks.

Ayew's big night -- and a long night for Korea's Ki Sung Yueng -- began with Ki's low tackle attempt that managed to catch the airborne Waris in both ankles. Ki got a yellow card. After Ghana medical staff applied ice to Waris' thick left thigh, he was helped off the field. The extent of his injury wasn't known as Ghana left the stadium.

Ayew came in for Waris. In the 11th minute, Sulley Muntari drove the ball almost to the end line on the left before crossing. The cross sailed by the apparent target, Andre Ayew, all the way to the right side of the penalty area, where Jordan Ayew collected it and fired. His blast powered through and off Sung Yueng and bounced inside the right post.

As the half died down, Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan outmaneuvered Korea's Kwak Taehwi for a ball near midfield and found himself with air between he and the penalty area.

Gyan faded slightly right of the middle to give himself an extra second with Kim Younggwon closing from the left, then placed a perfect slider inside the right post for a 2-0 Ghana lead.

Jordan Ayew picked up his second goal of the game in the 53rd minute when Korea didn't seem to mind giving him a shot from the edge of the area. He completed the hat trick in the 89th minute, a nice close-out for Ghana which had lost its two most recent friendlies.

Appiah wouldn't say how much Jordan Ayew helped his starting stock for Monday.

"All the players I've selected, I have full confidence in them," Appiah said. "Some players who didn't come out on the pitch will start the U.S. game."

(c)2014 The Miami Herald

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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