Ghana’s fairytale at the World Cup ended on a painful note at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg as Uruguay advanced to the semi-finals 4-2 via the penalty lottery in an entertaining match that lasted 120 minutes.
Asamoah Gyan, who had missed a final minute spot kick redeemed himself scoring Ghana’s first kick and he was followed by Stephen Appiah. But Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved captain John Mensah and Dominic Adiyah's attempts.
The game ended 1-1 in normal regulation time after Sulley Muntari’s opener before halftime was cancelled by Diego Forlan.
Ghana, the continent’s only side to have reached the last eight stage of the competition will exit the competition knowing they were very close to making history as Africa’s only side to reach the last four.
Despite the setback, the Black Stars never let the continent down as they fought to the very last kick of the game backed by wonderful support from the rest of the continent.
Muntari struck a 35 yard shot that bounced once before beating goalkeeper Fernando Muslera in the last kick of the first half at Soccer City.
Ghana also just missed with back-to-back efforts on goal around the 30th minute but the Black Stars were kept in the game by goalkeeper Richard Kingson, who twice saved well from shots in the 10th and 26th minutes.
Isaac Vorsah headed wide left off a corner, then Kevin-Prince Boateng found Asamoah Gyan for a first-time shot that goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved by stretching low to his left. Boateng also miscued his overhead kick.
In the 39th, Sulley Muntari headed wide off Anthony Annan’s long pass but two minutes into added time before recess, Muntari struck the opener for Ghana.
Ten minutes into the second half of the thrilling match, Uruguay earned a foul outside Ghana’s box and Forlan was on hand to curl a swerving shot beyond Kingson for the equaliser.
Ghana maintained their composure and could have jumped into the lead again after referee Olegario Benquerenca had allowed play to continue when Boateng was felled in the box. However, Muntari’s shot from close range drifted wide off the upright of Muslera.
Gyan’s effort from a free kick went wide as Ghana pushed for the second goal before Milovan Rajevac made his first change, sending on Stephen Appiah for Samuel Inkoom.
Kingson pulled off another fine save, denying Suarez’s toe-poke shot. Dominic Adiyiah was sent on for goalscorer Sulley Muntari as the game headed into the final stages of regulation time.
The tie headed into extra-time, Ghana’s second at the World Cup after their last game before the quarter-final against the United States also going the same way.
A flurry of box-to-box action capped the last 30 minutes of the game but on the stroke of full time, Ghana were awarded a penalty after striker Suarez kept out Adiyiah’s goal bound header with the hand.
The Uruguayan player was sent off but Gyan’s strike from the spot, the game’s final kick hit the crossbar and went out of play to the delight of the South Americans .
Line up: Richard Kingson, John Paintsil, Hans Adu Sarpei, Isaac Vorsah, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom/Stephen Appiah, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari/Dominic Adiyiah
Subs: Daniel Agyei, Prince Tagoe, Andre Ayew, Jonathan Mensah, Lee Addy, Rahim Ayew, Derek Boateng, Stephen Appiah, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Mathew Amoah, Dominic Adiyiah, Stephen Ahorlu