By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A Clint Dempsey goal after just 30 seconds and a late John Brooks header were enough to give the USA team a 2-1 win over Ghana at the Arena das Dunas in Natal last night (June 16th). Andre Ayew had leveled for the Africans with just eight minutes remaining only for Brooks to restore the USA advantage and seal the points.
The victory meant sweet revenge for the Americans. The USA team have lost to Ghana at the two previous World Cups, in the group stage in 2006 and the second round in 2010.
They were handed the perfect start with the game less than a minute old. Dempsey weaved a path through the Ghana defense before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey after 30 seconds, the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history.
Jozy Altidore had a golden opportunity to double the USA’s lead but fired straight at Kwarasey. Meanwhile, Tim Howard protected the American lead with a smart save from Asamoah Gyan before Jordan Ayew fired wide.
In the second half, Ghana started on the front foot, with Sulley Muntari firing a warning shot in the early exchanges, signalling his side’s offensive intent. Howard made another stop from Gyan as the Africans probed for an equalizer.
The USA became camped in their own half as Ghana cranked up the pressure. Their dominance finally paid off on 82 minutes when Gyan supplied Ayew to fire past Howard at the near post.
Yet there was one final dramatic twist when Brooks found space to head the winner four minutes later. The USA now take on Portugal on Sunday at the Arena Amazônia in Manaus.
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