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Soccer News of Thursday, 31 January 2002

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Last gasp victory sends soccer fans into frenzy

Drivers in Accra honked their horns, fans whistled, clapped and broke into songs after Ghana grabbed a last gasp winner against Burkina Faso to squeeze into the quarterfinals of the CAN 2002 tournament in Mali.

For the time being, many fans are oblivious to the fact that their opponents in the quarterfinals are traditional rivals, Nigeria. What matters is the victory after Burkina Faso scared them with a late strike that looked like a sucker punch.

"This shows the determination of the team," said Kwabena Yeboah, a sports editor and commentator.

"We were lucky, but to come back from behind to score two quick goals showed the spirit in the camp," he added.

The 'Black Stars' have been plagued by problems before and during the tournament and their dependable defender, Bayern Munich star Samuel Osei Kuffuor was sacked for indiscipline.

Until Wednesday, the team had scored no goal in the two previous matches, which ended in barren draws against Morocco and South Africa. And with South Africa in full control against Morocco, it needed the resilience of the team to squeeze past Morocco.

Substitute Isaac Boakye scored two dramatic goals in the last eight minutes after trailing 1-0 to send the country into wild jubilation. Many fans said that team coach Osam Duodu was lucky, because if the Black Stars had lost it would have been his death knell.