02/03/2024

Kudus broke Korean hearts in a World Cup thriller (Photo: FIFA World Cup)

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has produced some unbelievable matches so far but a Ghana victory in a thriller against South Korea may now hold that mantle.

Ghana, the lowest ranked team at the World Cup, were able to hold off, defend, attack and defeat South Korea in what was a spectacle that had to be seen to be believed, as the momentum ebbed and flowed right across the match leaving many pundits running out of synonyms for ‘intense’.

Ghana appeared in line to grab the full 3 points from this Group H match when they led 2-0 at half-time. Much of the beginning of the match was contested almost exclusively in the Korean half, but when Jordan Ayew sent over a free-kick from the left, the ball dropped for Mohammed Salisu to force one home from close range.

Mohammed Kudus quickly doubled Ghana’s lead, timing a beautiful run behind the Korean defence to apply a deft flick from another tremendous Ayew delivery.

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After half-time however the Korean outfit came out inspired and motivated, hitting the scoreboard twice in three minutes thanks to Cho Gue-Sung, with the 24-year-old scoring both to pull his nation level.

His first came through heading home a cross from substitute Lee Kang-in, while the second was the product of a leap above Gideon Mensah to power Kim Jin-Su’s wonderful delivery past the helpless Ati-Zigi.

Cho Gue-Sung scores back to back goals against Ghana (Twitter – @FIFAWorldCup)

Once level, both countries were on full attack and fed off fans who were deafening in support. Education City Stadium was rocking, as the immeasurable pressure from both sides left many on the edge of their seat.

With the game in the balance and momentum heavily in the Koreans favour, Ghana needed a response. In came Mohammed Kudus, scoring his second of the match and retaking the lead. He took full advantage of a messy cross with a magnificent left foot strike inside the box, becoming the first Ghanaian to score a double in one game at the FIFA World Cup.

Ten minutes of extra time gave multiple opportunities for the Koreans to level the scores but to no avail, as Ghana held on amid a late onslaught to earn a precious win ahead of a final group game. The result leaves Group H still with plenty to play out, as Ghana have gone from looking down the barrel of an early exit to the front seat of locking in a round of 16 knockout birth.

With a match against Uruguay next, simply a win will qualify them into the next stage. While South Korea coach Paulo Bento, who was red-carded after the final whistle, must pick his players up before facing Portugal on Friday.

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