Video by Wandoo Makurdi and He Long
RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Defender Samuel Inkoom raised the Ghanaian and South African flags in the air as he celebrated his team’s win with a victory lap around the field. The poignant gesture symbolized African unity and support of the Black Stars’ 2-1 win over the United States.
Saturday night was not the first time Ghana has thwarted the American team, as the West Africans also eliminated the United States from the first round of the 2006 World Cup after an identical 2-1 loss to Ghana.
The Americans have repeatedly played from behind to secure narrow wins in the last moments of the game. However, the U.S. defense had a slow recovery from the Black Stars’ attacking offense, which earned its first goal in the fifth minute on the legs of Kevin-Prince Boateng.
“We didn’t take advantage of our chances, so the better team won,” said disappointed American fan Peter Talluto. “Congratulations, it’s been a good run. Four years from now, hopefully we’ll rebound and do a little bit better.”
Ghana’s fast-paced style and strategy proved to be effective in moving the team forward with young standout players like Asamoah Gyan, who also scored the game-winner in the 93rd minute. Forward André Ayew, the 20-year-old son of soccer legend Abédi Pelé, also rose to the occasion and was named man of the match.
The young team has progressed under the leadership of Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, who helped Ghana finish second in the African Cup of Nations in Angola earlier this year.
“Ghana has shown that Africans are also capable of doing something like any other country in the world,” shouted one elated Ghanaian fan as he exited the stadium.
“Ghana did it for us,” yelled another passer-by. “I’m South African, so I’m happy for the African country if they can take this.”
It appeared the U.S. team could pull off another come-from-behind win when midfielder Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick in the second half. However, unlike the team’s memorable comebacks from one goal down to tie England, two goals down to tie Slovenia and a stoppage-time win against Algeria, it wasn’t enough to secure a win.
“We can’t keep starting games like that,” U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra told fifa.com. “We pushed and pushed to make comebacks, and today we tried our luck and it just ran out. I think we kept going; today just wasn’t our day.”
Ghana will face Uruguay in Johannesburg on July 2 in hopes of becoming the first African team to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.