Ghana played their last friendly before the World Cup begins for them next Monday and won convincingly against South Korea, beating the Asian team 4-0 at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium.
Black Stars manager James Kwesi Appiah tinkered with his lineup yesterday setting up with a 4-3-3 with Mohammed Rabiu as the single holding midfielder and having Juventus all-purpose player Kwadwo Asamoah start at left-back. The move was intriguing because it seems like Appiah was still looking for who will be starting on that side of the pitch when they face the U.S. because Ghana does not have a true left-back on their roster. In the sixth minute, forward Abdul Majeed Waris went down with an apparent leg injury that had Black Stars fans worried as Waris is captain Asamoah “Baby Jet” Gyan’s preferred strike partner. Also, the 22-year-old was in fine form when he went on loan to France’s Valenciennes from Russia’s Spartak Moscow and scored nine goals in 15 appearances in Ligue 1. With Waris going down, Jordan Ayew was called to come in, and he did not disappoint.
South Korea stuck to their philosophy of playing with pace and outworking opponents through effort but the Black Stars defense stayed patient, counterattacked and made the Reds pay for their mistakes. Ayew scored off a shot that deflected off midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung in the 11th minute. And right before halftime, Gyan scored. Then he and his teammates debuted a new dance.
In all honesty, the match was more competitive than the 2-0 first half score but the second half display featured South Korea losing the drive to compete while Ghana continued to play hard as Ayew added two more goals to complete a hat-trick and make himself an option to come off the bench in Brazil or as a potential starter.
Before the match yesterday, Ghana hadn’t scored in a game since their 1-0 victory over Congo DR on January 26 in the African Nations Championship so it was necessary for them to go to Brazil with some confidence. Another goal was to avoid injuries after defender Jerry Akaminko was lost for the tournament because of an injury he picked up against the Netherlands. But unfortunately Waris went down but reports say the injury isn’t too serious. If Waris is unable to play against the U.S., his pace, link-up play and scoring ability will be missed. Ayew will be the first to take his place. But Chelsea’s Christian Atsu is another option. He’s an electric youngster that can create chances from either flank.
As the match ended, Ghanaian fans were yelling “We want U.S.A.!” as USMNT manager Jurgen Klinnsman was in attendance scouting the Black Stars. Both teams played well in their last tune-up games before they face each other and now they head into Monday’s match confident that each other will win but Ghana will have the advantage if they impose their will like they did against the Reds last night.