South Korea 2-3 Ghana
Mohammed Kudus scored twice to help Ghana beat South Korea 3-2 in a World Cup Group H thriller at a rocking Education City Stadium on Monday, keeping the Black Stars in contention for a place in the last-16.
Against the run of play, Ghana went ahead in the 24th minute when Mohammed Salisu struck from close range after South Korea failed to clear a free kick and Mohammed Kudus add a second with a glancing header to give the African side a 2-0 half-time lead.
South Korea came roaring back, however, with two daring Cho Gue-sung headers three minutes apart to level the seesaw match.
Kudus grabbed the winner in the 68th minute when he was left unmarked in the penalty area and slotted home past a diving Kim Seung-gyu.
Ghana, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 61st, joined Portugal at the top of the group standings on three points with Uruguay and South Korea on one. Portugal and Uruguay play later on Monday.
Ghana saw off early 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 line-up as Ghana fielded a much more offensive line-up than against Portugal.
Ayew’s perfectly-weighted free kick caused confusion in the 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 English 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 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 Korean supporters.
Ghana, who would have been eliminated from the World Cup had they lost, looked vulnerable but were handed a surprise lifeline by sloppy 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 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 again.
Man of the match: Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)
- Na Sangho replaces Woo-yeong Jeong 46 mins
- Lee Kang-in replaces Kwon Chang-Hoon 57 mins
- Ui-jo Hwang replaces Jung Woo-young 78 mins
- Kyung-won Kwon replaces Min-jae Kim 90′ mins
- Kamal-Deen Sulemana replaces Andre Ayew 78 mins
- Denis Odoi replaces Tariq Lamptey 78 mins
- Daniel-Kofi Kyereh replaces Jordan Ayew 78 mins
- Alexander Djiku replaces Mohammed Kudus 83 mins
- Rahman Baba replaces Gideon Mensah 88 mins
South Korea – Jung Woo-young, Kim Young-gwon
Ghana – Daniel Amartey, Tariq Lamptey
Referee: Anthony Taylor, (England)