Hosts Angola crash out
Ghana dumped hosts Angola out of the African Nations Cup to become the first side through to the semi-finals.
Last Updated: 24/01/10 6:53pm
Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal to help Ghana dump hosts Angola out of the African Cup of Nations and become the first side through to the semi-finals.
The Rennes striker found the target in the 16th minute, ending a sweeping counter-attack with a clinical finish to stun the near 50,000 crowd at the
Estadio do Novembre 11 in Luanda.
Milovan Rajevac's depleted team looked in control for almost the entire encounter after taking command early in the first half, with disappointing finishing largely responsible for keeping the home side blank.
The signs of adrenalin pumping were clearly evident from the outset - Andre
Ayew booked inside the opening 30 seconds for diving in on Mabina - but there were also nerves as both sides looked to settle quickly.
The first real threat on goal came after 10 minutes when Gyan curled a 30-yard free-kick narrowly wide for the Ghanaians.
At the other end, goalkeeper Richard Kingston had two anxious moments in the form of near mix-ups with defender Lee Addy.
But the Black Stars survived and went on to take the lead when a defence-splitting pass by Kwadwo Asamoah from inside his own half picked out Gyan on the right and the Rennes striker fired an 18-yard cross-goal shot beyond Carlos Fernandes.
Angola tried to respond with Gilberto's free-kick causing mayhem in Ghana's penalty area before being somehow cleared away.
Manucho then had a golden opportunity to equalise when a floated cross from
Flavio Amado on the right by-line offered the Valladolid striker a free-header, but he put it straight at Kingston, who managed to parry the danger away.
That was on the half-hour mark and five minutes later the Wigan goalkeeper was penalised for holding onto the ball longer than the mandatory six seconds, but the 14-yard free-kick was wastefully put over by Flavio.
It should have been level on the stroke of half-time when Flavio again set up
Manucho with the goal gaping.
The Al-Shabab striker beat two defenders to the ball in the centre of the box, but his knockdown was somehow blasted over by his strike partner, with Kingston not even in the picture.
After the restart, Angola continued to pile on the pressure, but it was Ghana who carved out the first real chance when Ayew fired a low 20-yard shot straight at Fernandes after clever work by the Marseille midfielder in the build-up.
The visitors suffered a major blow on the hour mark when goalscorer Gyan pulled up with a hamstring problem and had to be replaced.
But they looked to be coping well without him as Haminu Draman stole in behind the defence only to blast a good opening straight at the Angolan goalkeeper.
When the home side finally created their first real chance of the second half after 72 minutes, it was again wasted - Manucho the culprit for a third time on the night nodding over a free header from three yards out.
The visitors could have doubled the advantage not long after when Asamoah drew a fine low save from Fernandes with his sharp shot from just outside the box.
Five minutes of injury time were added and it gave Angola hope. Kali had two good chances to pull his side back - first a Ze Kalanga cross just evaded him in the box and then a rush of blood from Kingston saw him dash out, but again the defender failed to connect.
The opportunities proved to be the final ones as Manuel Jose's team matched their best-ever appearance in the competition.