Ghana players formed a human shield around the penalty spot against Uruguay amid fears of foul play at the Qatar World Cup. The two teams have a history of tense match-ups at football’s most prestigious international tournament, but the Black Stars were dealt more agony when Andre Ayew stepped up to the spot and missed on Friday.
Tensions were still high going into Friday’s showdown, 12 years after the teams met at the 2010 World Cup. Back then, Ghana looked destined for an historic semi-final when Dominic Adiyiah headed towards an empty net in the final minute of extra time, but Luis Suarez saved the ball off the line with his hands before being sent off.
Asamoah Gyan stepped up and missed the penalty, with Ghana going on to lose the shootout. Many felt as though Suarez cheated to help Uruguay to the semi-finals and he was seen celebrating Gyan’s penalty miss from the sidelines.
The two teams reunited on Friday in a high-stakes encounter, with a spot in the World Cup knockout stages up for grabs. Early on, Mohammed Kudus was taken down by goalkeeper Sergio Rochet to hand Ghana an opportunity from 12 yards.
JUST IN: Spain vs Japan conspiracy theory raised with Germany out of World Cup
Ayew’s penalty miss kick-started an agonising period in the game for Ghana as Uruguay responded with two quickfire goals. Giorgian de Arrascaeta, who fans were desperate to see more of in Qatar, headed the first in from close range and bagged his brace just over five minutes later with a sweetly-struck volley.
Those two goals capped off a painful first 45 minutes of action for Ghana, who may still be bitter over the two teams’ highly-strung World Cup showdown in 2010. The African outfit have only made it to the tournament four times and their journey to the quarters in South Africa remains their deepest run.
In a press conference this week, Suarez was informed that many in Ghana see him as ‘the devil’ for his role in their last World Cup meeting. “I don’t apologise about that,” he responded. “I took the handball, but Ghana player missed the penalty.
“I’d apologise if i injured a player or took a red card for this, but I took a red card. It wasn’t my fault because I didn’t miss the penalty. You see the player who missed the penalty, he said he would do the same [as me].”