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Sports News of Sunday, 4 June 2006

Source: D. R./GHP/Rts

Ghana 3-1 Korea

EDINBURGH, Scotland - Ghana will be confident ahead of the upcoming World Cup after a 3-1 win over a disappointing South Korea in their last World Cup warmup at Easter Road stadium.

The Black Stars were as impressive as their supporters. They certainly provided sumptuous entertainment for the 10,000 crowd at Easter Road. The stadium was lit up by thousands of Korean fans wearing the red shirts of their heroes while the Ghanaian contingent contributed to the atmosphere with drums and whistles.

Essien is a class act and carved out the first chance by himself after 16 minutes.

He turned past two defenders, skipped over another challenge on a run which deserved a goal but Lee Woon-Jae made a fine save.

Sulley Muntari is a tricky customer and a lovely nutmeg of Chong Gug-Song gave him the chance to shoot, only for the ball to sail over.

The Koreans were at their best when they got the ball down and played their passing game. This was where Ghana struggled a little and in 20 minutes a good move ended with Ho Lee having an effort on goal. The ball took a deflection and keeper Richard Kingson did well to change direction and save on his line.

Then, in 24 minutes, South Korea put together their best move of the match so far. Lee Eul-Young fed Lee Pyo-Young on the left wing. He took on and beat Asamoah Gyan, got his cross over but Ty-Young headed just wide.

But the Ghana breakthrough came in 36 minutes. A cross from John Pantsil should have been dealt with by Kim Jin-Kyu but when the defender tried to take the ball on his chest he succeeded only in handling it. Referee Dougie MacDonald pointed to the spot and Gyan, who plays for Modena in Italian Serie B and is said to be the next big thing, sent a perfect penalty into the top left-hand corner.

But if that was perfect Ghana substitute keeper Sammy Adjei was less so five minutes after the break. There seemed little danger when South Korea won a free-kick 40 yards out. Lee Young-Ul rolled the ball to Lee Soo-Chun, who gave it back to him.

Trabzonspor midfielder Lee Eul-Yong was on hand to stun The Black Stars with a 49th minute equaliser, catching Ghana goalkeeper Sammy Adjei off-guard with a hard shot from about 30 yards.

Midfielder Sulley Muntari scored the second goal for the Black Stars three minutes later, heading in a perfect cross from Michael Essien

Matthew Amoah had a chance, but his shot in the 60th minute went wide.

Essien, however, put the result beyond doubt, when he added a third in the 80th.

Ghana was stronger, faster and, well, just better than the Korean. They played one-twos in midfield with ease and Chelsea's Michael Essien was a stand-out.

"I am very happy with the build-up, especially because we have scored goals so we can do a good job in the World Cup," said Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic.

"We know South Korea are very strong but they didn't push as much as usual.

"Maybe we had more luck in scoring goals but we are strong, honest and have good skill."

South Korea boss Dick Advocaat was unconcerned by the reverse.

He said: "It is quite simple, the World Cup did not start today for us. The World Cup starts on the 13th so wait and see what we will do on the 13th."

Ghana, which will be making its World Cup debut in Germany, is in Group E with Italy, the United States and the Czech Republic.

Ghana (4-1-3-2): Kingston (Adjei, h-t); Pantsil, Mensah, Shilla Alhassan, Pappoe; Eric Addo; Appiah, Essien, Muntari; Gyan, Amoah (Pimpong, 81).
Subs not used: Sarpei, Kuffour, Boateng, Tachie-Mensah, Mohammed, Quaye, Owu, Addo, Ahmed, Dramani.

South Korea: Lee Woon-jae, Choi Jin-chul, Kim Jin-kyu, Kim Do-heon, Ahn Jung-hwan, Seol Ki-Hyun, Lee Young-pyo, Baek Ji-hoon, Chung Kyung-Ho, Kim Sang-Sik, Song Chong-Gug.