Stars fall to Love strike

13 years ago

Ghana and Brazil enjoyed a great share of attention with football action bouncing back in midweek as both nations rounded up their two-game friendly series in Solna, Sweden on Tuesday.

The five-time world champions endured a difficult time though they managed a 1-0 victory at the Råsunda stadion in a rematch of the 2006 World Cup second-round tie which Brazil won 3-0.

Ghana coach, Claude Le Roy had the opportunity to try out four uncapped players as he handed Anthony Annan a place in the starting line up in his debut game for the Black Stars.

Though winners, Brazil were heavily indebted to goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Ghana ended the game with 10-men after attacker, Haminu Draman was shown the red card in the second half.

Ghana’s bench was forced to effect an early substitution with Asamoah Gyan pulling out after six minutes and replaced with Alex Tachie Menson.

Eric Addo came closer to getting the game’s opener but saw his header to a cross from Laryea Kingson pushed out by Julio Cesar in post for the Brazilians.

Two minutes after that miss, Vagner Love capped the day for the Seleção’s in their ninth outing since Dunga took over after 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany when he tapped at the far post from a corner kick flicked by Kaka.

Julio Cesar was in action again in the 20th minute as he blocked a dangerous run by Alex Tachie Mensah.

Ghana, despite the absence of captain Stephen Appiah and midfielder Michael Essien and Junior Agogo, Ghana continued to threaten the South Americans in a surprisingly slow-paced game.

Brazil playing Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho hardly got behind the Ghana defence as the trio barely stamped their influence on the game to end the first half.

However Ghana, down by that Love goal pushed for the equaliser but Laryea Kingson saw his shot at goal in the 50th minute blocked by Julio Cesar who later tipped over Sulley Muntari's 30-metre free kick shortly afterwards.

Ghana had midfielder Haminu Draman sent off for a second bookable offence in the 77th minute.

Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Alfred Arthur and Ekow Benson - both locally-based players, all uncapped were given run outs by Claude Le Roy in the later stages of the game as Michael Helegbe enjoyed his second cap coming on as a substitute.

The defeat brings to an end Ghana’s six-game unbeaten since September 2006. Ghana thus end her two game friendly series after drawing 1-1 with Austria on Saturday.

The two matches are expected to boost the Black Stars’ preparations towards the African Cup of Nations in 2008.

By virtue of being host of the 2008 African Cup of Nations finals, Ghana would not be playing any competitive match until January 2008, when the tournament kicks off in Accra but would be continuing with preparations with a series of matches lined up.

Ghana line up:

Richard Kingston, John Pantsil, Francis Dickoh, John Mensah, Hans Sarpei/Alfred Arthur, Eric Addo/Derek Boateng, Laryea Kingston/Bernard Yao Kumodzi, Haminu Dramani, Anthony Annan/Ekow Benson, Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan, Alex Tachie Mensah/ Michael Helegbe