Korea Republic vs Ghana. FIFA World Cup Group H.
Education City StadiumAttendance43,983.
Match report as Ghana register their first win of the tournament, keeping their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup knockout stages alive with a 3-2 victory in a thriller against South Korea in Group H
Tuesday 29 November 2022 16:14, UK
Mohammed Kudus struck twice in a pulsating game as Ghana beat South Korea 3-2 to register their first win in World Cup Group H.
South Korea had all the early pressure, forcing seven corners in the first 20 minutes, but it was Mohammed Salisu who gave Ghana the lead against the run of play after a goalmouth scramble (24).
Kudus doubled the advantage (34) with a precision glancing header after a beautifully delivered Jordan Ayew cross from the left-hand side.
Cho Gue Song scored two quick-fire headers to bring South Korea back on level terms around the hour-mark, before Kudus added his second of the game in the 68th minute with a well-taken finish to make it 3-2.
Salisu was forced to clear off the line late on to ensure Ghana came away from the Education City Stadium with all three points, keeping their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages well and truly alive.
As for South Korea, who saw boss Paulo Bento sent off at full time for protesting to English referee Anthony Taylor, they now need to beat Portugal in their final game on Friday and hope Uruguay also overcome Ghana in a repeat of their controversial quarter-final clash at the 2010 World Cup.
South Korea: Seung-Gyu Kim (6), Moon-Hwan Kim (6), Min-Jae Kim (6), Young-Gwon Kim (6), Jin-Su Kim, (8) In-Beom Hwang (6), Jung (6), Chang-Hoon Kwon (6), Jeong (7), Heung-Min Son (7), Gue-Sung Cho (6)
Subs: Hee-Chan Hwang (6), Na (7), Kang-In Lee (7), Kyung-Won Kwon (7)
Ghana: Ati-Zigi (6), Lamptey (7), Amartey (7), Salisu (7), Mensah (6), Partey (7), Abdul Samed (6), Kudus (9), Andre Ayew (7), Williams (7), Jordan Ayew (8)
Subs: Odoi (6), Kyereh (6), Baba (6), Sulemana (6), Djiku (6)
Player of the match: Mohammed Kudus
Ghana saw off early South Korean pressure to go 2-0 ahead as centre-back Salisu's scrambled goal in the 24th minute was followed 10 minutes later by a glancing header from Kudus.
Both were at the end of superb deliveries from Jordan Ayew, restored to the starting lineup as Ghana fielded a much more offensive side than against Portugal.
Ayew's perfectly weighted free-kick caused confusion in the South Korean defence and Salisu turned sharply to snap up the opener as the ball bobbled around. There was a lengthy wait for VAR to check the validity of the goal before Premier League referee Anthony Taylor confirmed it.
Ayew again provided a wicked delivery, with the right height and pace, for Kudus to apply a glancing touch with his head and double the Black Stars' lead.
Early second-half changes breathed new life into South Korea's attack and Lee Kang-In had barely been on the field for a minute when he helped dispossess Tariq Lamptey and fired in a cross that Cho attacked with pace, leaving Salisu watching as he got in front of his marker to power home a 58th-minute header.
The 24-year-old centre forward was even more determined as a chip from Kim Jin-Su caught the out-of-position goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi scrambling and Cho climbed above the centre backs to score a dramatic equaliser, right in front of a bank of screaming South Korean supporters.
South Korea made three changes to team that were held to a goalless draw by Uruguay in their opening Group H clash.
Key defender Kim Min-jae passed a late fitness. The Napoli centre back had been doubtful due to a calf injury and coach Paulo Bento said he would check Kim's status at the last minute before making the call on his availability.
Meanwhile, Ghana also made three changes after they lost their opening Group H match 3-2 to Portugal as they reshuffled their defence, bringing in Jordan Ayew up front in a more attacking 4-3-3 lineup after fielding three central defenders last time out.
Ghana, who would have been eliminated from the World Cup had they lost, looked vulnerable, but were handed a surprise lifeline by sloppy South Korean defending in the 68th minute.
Gideon Mensah was allowed to get a cross in from the left, which Inaki Williams missed, but the ball fell for Kufus to tuck home with his left foot all while the South Korean backline failed to attack the ball.
The fortuitous turn for the Black Stars was followed by Ati-Zigi making a fine save from Lee's free-kick and watching as the ball was cleared off the line from Kim Jin-Su's scuffed shot.
Ghana continued to live dangerously through 10 minutes of added time as Korea besieged their goal, but were unable to equalise, with Bento shown a straight red at full time after Taylor blew up before his side could take a last-gasp corner with no more time left on the clock.
And that means Bento will now be absent from the touchline for his side's must-win game against his native country on Friday.
Analysis by Sky Sports' Richard Morgan
Heading into their Group H clash with South Korea on Monday, Ghana knew defeat at the Education City Stadium would see them exit the competition after just two games, which meant the pressure was well and truly on Otto Addo's side.
Luckily, though, Mohammed Kudus picked the ideal time to make Ghanian football history after the Ajax midfielder headed his team into a 2-0 half-time lead, before then sealing a 3-2 win with a composed finish midway through the second period.
As a result, the 22-year-old became the first Ghana player to score two goals in a World Cup match, while he also became the second youngest African player to net twice in the competition.
That double means Ghana's World Cup fate is now in their own hands ahead of their final clash with Uruguay on Friday.
Analysis by Sky Sports' Adam Williams
Heung-Min Son is one of the most devastating forwards in world football, and his appearance in the World Cup despite damaging his eye socket in the same month has been remarkable. The issue is, he has not really led the South Korean line as we know he can.
Son is known worldwide for his ability to make and score goals for Tottenham alongside his partner in crime Harry Kane. However, neither of them has scored in this World Cup while they captain their respective nations.
South Korea drew 0-0 with Uruguay in the first match and in the second they lost out to Ghana 3-2. Who was on the scoresheet for the Asia side? Not Son, but Cho Gue-sung, a striker on loan at a Korean second-division side, was the one to score twice.
Son is the superstar. You can hear it's him on the ball before you can see the number thanks to the roar the crowd makes every time he gets involved. But the superstar is getting upstaged.
Is it the injury? Perhaps. You also wonder whether the pressure of being the player who drags his team through tournaments in a Messi or Ronaldo-esque manner is too much for the 30-year-old.
He's not the only national icon struggling in Qatar. Kane has already been mentioned, but Christian Eriksen, Kevin De Bruyne and Luka Modric can be added to the list.
It's important to note Son was an architect in the second South Korea goal, with his world-class through ball opening Ghana up, leading to the cross and eventual finish. However, a look at the stats suggests there is more to come from Son. His midfield partner Hwang Inbeom completed the most passes, Kim Jinsu the most crosses and Cho the most shots.
Kane and Son are superheroes when you bring them together, but while apart, it currently seems like their powers diminish.
Son was outshone as his team went down swinging against Ghana. South Korea's final chance against Portugal beckons and, like dawn, they will hope Son will rise and shine again.
Ghana boss Otto Addo
"It will be very difficult, but I am confident to know that we can win this game. I'm not a guy that thinks much of revenge," said Addo in reference to the two nations' meeting at the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, when Uruguay won thanks to a controversial handball on the line from Luis Suarez, with Ghana missing the resulting penalty, before exiting on penalties.
"It was really, really long time ago that this incident happened and I am a strong believer if you don't seek too much revenge on these kind of things sometimes you get the blessings.
"It is a different approach, a different team. They have very good strikers, lots of experience and they are a very compact, very good team.
"It will be very difficult just like every match.
"We said before the tournament started every game will be on edge, and we have to be at our best to beat them."
South Korea assistant coach Sergio Costa:
"In the first 25 minutes, we were able to control the game with ball possession which was very good. We made good passes and fulfilled our strategy for the match. After the first goal, things changed until the end of the first half.
"At that moment, we lost control. The second half was totally different - we had control, ball possession and created opportunities to score.
"The result is totally unfair. Not even a tie would have been fair. We clearly deserved a win... count on us for the next match."
Ghana's first win of the tournament means they are in control of their own destiny in terms of qualifying for the knockout stages heading into their last match against Uruguay on Friday.
South Korea can still qualify for the knockout stages but they will need to beat Portugal in their last group game on Friday.
Cameroon kept alive their faint hopes of reaching the round of 16 after substitute Vincent Aboubakar inspired a breathless comeback in a 3-3 draw with Serbia in Group G.
Jean-Charles Castelletto gave Cameroon an early lead before Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored in the space of two-and-a-half minutes to give Serbia a half-time lead.
Aleksandar Mitrovic extended that lead further before Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting completed the comeback for Cameroon.