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Soccer News of Monday, 29 May 2006

Source: Veronica Commey, GNA Special correspondent

Stars Thrash Reggae Boys

Accra, May 29, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars on Monday, revived the hopes of the nation ahead of their maiden appearance at the World Cup with a 4-1 drubbing of the Reggae Boys of Jamaica in a special warm up game played at the Walkers Stadium, Liecester, England.

The victory was the team's first since January when they defeated Senegal by a lone goal in a group game at the Nations Cup hosted by Egypt.

Parading almost a full squad for the second time, in a week, the Stars sold out a classy performance to ensure the victory serves as a good omen ahead of a maiden World Cup appearance next month.

It was Sulley Ali Muntari who set the stage with the opener on five minutes when he rammed in a rebound after the Jamaican goalkeeper had spilled the ball.

The left-footed Udinese player, who enjoyed a superb day, was quick to burry the ball into the net after Jamaica's goalkeeper Shane Crawford fumbled with a shot from Mathew Amoah, to send the handful of fans present at the colourful 32, 000 capacity stadium chanting.

The Stars, enjoying better possession controlled the midfield, where Chelsea's Michael Essien proved why he is called the 'Bison' with great display of strength and creativity.

Displaying telepathic understanding, it was difficult to notice that Serbian Ratomir Dujkovic was testing impressive Dan Quaye and Habib Mohammed for the first time at the lateral positions.

Twice, Amoah and Asamoah Gyan came close to scoring in the seventh and ninth minutes, but it was goalkeeper Crawford who proved decisive in thwarting those efforts.

Five minutes on, Ghana's number one goalkeeper, Sammy Adjei, making a return to the team, after warming the bench in the last friendly against Turkey got tested when Jamaica's skilful Jamal Campell-Ryce weaved his way through the Stars rear and released a deceptive shot that brought the best out of him.

The Jamaicans settled well afterwards, ensuring that they troubled the Stars, but just for a while.

Just at a time they seemed to be gaining confidence, skipper Stephen Appiah consolidated the team's lead with a curly chip that deflected on a Jamaican before kissing the yawning net.

The move, was initiated by Quaye, whose crosses proved the missing link, the team had experienced in time past.

Then, came the turn of Muntari, who tore the opponents defence into shreds and sent a fierce one that was well dealt with by Crawford. The Jamaicans reacted swiftly with a counter attack that saw their best chance falling to Luton Shelton whose crafty finish could only be halted by Adjei to keep the scores unchanged in he first half.

The Jamaicans came from recess a better side and for a moment gave the Ghanaians a great run for their money. The transformation paid off only 11 minutes later, when Jason Euell gave their vociferous fans something to cheer about by punishing Adjei for spilling the ball, when he tried to save a shot delivered from 3 0 metres.

Skipper Appiah once more found the shine for the Stars with a double, five minutes after the hour mark when he made the most of a great move started by Essien to send the crowd cheering. Three minutes later, it was the turn of Amoah who enjoyed a quiet day, but as usual, proved why he is regarded as the most reliable striker for some time now.

Amoah, fed on Gyan's amazing piece of brilliance to give the team their biggest score-line - 4-1 - after a similar result against Cape Varde in the last World qualifier, last year.

Ghana: Adjei: Quaye, Mensah, Kuffour (Alaassan 78), Mohammed, Appiah (Otto Addo 83), Essien (Boateng 80), E Addo (Hans Adu 73), Muntari (Draman 87), Gyan, Amoah (Pimpong 80).

Jamaica: Ricketts (Sawyers 85); Daley, Stewart, Davis, Reid, Campbell-Ryce (J Johnson 62), Euell, Stephenson (Morrison 80), Crawford, King, Shelton (R Johnson 46).