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Sports News of Sunday, 8 October 2006

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Ghana trounce South Korea

Two goals from Asamoah Gyan helped Ghana edge South Korea 3-1 in a friendly match Sunday and hand new coach Claude Le Roy two wins in two games.

South Korea, playing with a young and inexperienced team, kept the Black Stars at bay in the first half with a combination of good defending and good luck at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

It was the first defeat for South Korea's Dutch coach Pim Verbeek after he took control of the team in July.

Ghana piled on the pressure early, almost taking the lead within ten minutes when captain Stephen Appiah forced a reflex save from goalkeeper Kim Young-kwang at close range.

Gyan of Italian side Udinese was only beaten by the right post in the 17th, but his 48th-minute header from Laryea Kingson's cross was right on target.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien then turned up the heat ten minutes later by heading home a corner in similar fashion to make it 2-0.

With all three of South Koreas English Premiership players sidelined and World Cup striker Lee Chun-soo still nursing an ankle injury, it was left to forward Kim Dong-hyun to hammer home a rebound in the 62nd to reduce the margin.

But Gyan was relentless and made it decisive in the 83rd after weaving through the penalty area.

South Korea had several chances to equalize, with FC Seoul forward Jung Jo-gook sending a long drive inches wide of the left post late in the game.

"If Premier (League) players such as Seol of Reading FC played in this match, the result could have been different," said Claude Le Roy, the French coach for the Ghanaian team, in an post game press conference.

"South Korea's two forwards posed threats several times despite they were trailing 2-0 in the second half. They strongly impressed our team with a never-give-up attitude," he added.

Ghana beat Korea by exactly the same score when they last played in June, just prior to the World Cup.

Since the summer's World Cup, when it made a name for itself as the only African team to advance past the group stage, Ghana's only other practice match ended in a 2-0 win over Togo.

Ghana, currently 23rd in FIFA rankings, are the highest-ranked opponents South Korea have faced in the past four international matches.

"They (Ghanaians) are stronger than us physically, tactically, and it was clear, but we had good experience," said the South Korean coach in a news conference. "We learned a lot."

"We learned good lessons in the match, not to lose many second goals, improve (inaccurate) final passes and position at the right place in the penalty area," he said. "My boys will understand the levels of World Cup and make healthy improvements soon."

Ghana beat Japan 1-0 on French coach Le Roy's debut Wednesday.

As host of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, the West African side qualifies automatically for the regional tournament and so is short of games.

GHANA: Kingson, Sarpei, Mensah, Iliasu, Mohammed, Essien, Appiah, Muntari (Draman), L. Kingston(Eric Addo), Gyan (Derek Boateng), Agogo(R. Pimpong)