BBC Sport world-cup-2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Serbia 0-1 Ghana

By Jonathan Stevenson
  1. 14:25 Commentary  

    Can I interest you in a Group of Death? Wouldn’t be a World Cup without one, would it? I’m Jonathan Stevenson, I’m in the wonderful South African city of Johannesburg and I’m going to bring you action from Serbia v Ghana as Group D gets under way. The happy days just keep on coming.

  2. 14:29 Commentary  

    Oh you don’t think this is the Group of Death? Oh, I see. Maybe you’d like to have a chat with the Fifa world rankings, then? According to football’s top dogs, the average position of the four Group D teams is 18 – making this the strongest quartet by far. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be surprised if any of Germany, Serbia, Australia or Ghana progressed, would you?

  3. 14:31 Commentary Serbia v Ghana line-ups:  

    Serbia: Stojkovic, Ivanovic, Lukovic, Vidic, Kolarov, Krasic, Milijas, Stankovic, Jovanovic, Pantelic, Zigic.
    Subs: Isailovic, Rukavina, Kacar, Tosic, Lazovic, Obradovic, Ninkovic, Petrovic, Subotic, Mrdja, Kuzmanovic, Djuricic.
    Ghana: Kingson, Pantsil, Vorsah, John Mensah, Sarpei, Tagoe, Annan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Andre Ayew, Asamoah, Gyan.
    Subs: Adjei, Inkoom, Jonathan Mensah, Derek Boateng, Appiah, Muntari, Amoah, Rahim Ayew, Adiyah, Addy, Owusu-Abeyie, Ahorlu.
    Referee: Hector Baldassi (Argentina)

  4. 14:35 Commentary  

    So far, the goals-per-game ratio is a frankly woeful 1.33. It's making Italia '90 (115 goals at 2.21 per match) look like an exhibition of attacking football. As a result, your chat is needed more than ever on text to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), via Twitter @Stevo_football and on the 606 page too.

  5. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Alastair Yeomans:  

    "The warm-ups are contrasting: Ghana are doing short sprints and ball shuttles, Serbia short passing drills. Wigan provide both 'keepers - Kingson and Stojkovic."

  6. 14:39 Commentary Serbia v Ghana team news:  

    Serbia coach Radomir Antic welcomes back Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic from illness, while new Birmingham signing Nikola Zigic is one of four English-based players in the starting line-up alongside Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic and Vladimir Stojkovic. Ghana's Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac has left out Sulley Muntari from his starting XI, while John Mensah, who just spent a season on loan at Sunderland from Lyon, will captain the team in the absence of the injured Michael Essien. Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng makes his second appearance for the Black Stars.

  7. Twitter  

    From Markogden4: "Fifa-branded vuvuzelas on sale in Cape Town. On that basis, don't expect Fifa ban any time soon."

  8. 14:45 Commentary Serbia manager Raddy Antic  

    "We're here for the first time at the World Cup as an independent state and this makes us even more motivated and stronger. I feel very privileged, this is a big opportunity to take part in something that we share with all Serbians. We don't feel inferior to anyone."

  9. 14:47 Commentary Ghana's Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac:  

    "This is a very difficult situation for me but I'm a professional and I will concentrate on the game. We all know everything about each other, so we'll see what happens. We are the youngest team, so for sure this will be a very interesting game."

  10. SMS  

    From Matt, south London: "I spent some time in northern Ghana on voluntary work and can honestly say the people were the nicest imaginable - c'mon the Black Stars!"

  11. 14:51 Commentary  

    So after a draw for South Africa and defeats for Nigeria and Algeria, this African World Cup is still waiting for its first victor. Can Ghana - the youngest squad in the tournament, be the first in Pretoria?

  12. 14:53 Commentary  

    A proud moment for Serbia's captain Dejan Stankovic as he stands in the tunnel. The Inter Milan star makes history today as the first man to play in three World Cups under three different flags - after playing for Yugoslavia in 1998 and Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.

  13. 14:55 Commentary  

    The teams are out, led by the aforementioned Dejan Stankovic and Ghana's John Mensah. It's anthem time.

  14. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "So it's noisy? So what? Let's just get on with it."

  15. 14:58 Commentary  

    A proud moment for the country of Serbia, as they belt out their national anthem for the first time at a World Cup. There is no less emotion as the Ghana players go through their song too. We're on the cusp.

  16. 15:00 KICK-OFF  

    Bang on cue, Argentine referee Hector Baldassi gets us under way at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

  17. 1 min Commentary  

    Lively. With about 10 seconds on the clock, Serbia's Ajax striker Marko Pantelic hammers in a right-footer from fully 40 yards that whistles narrowly wide. Great hit, interesting start.

  18. 2 mins Commentary  

    Ghana pump the ball into the Serbia box and after it's half-cleared, Anthony Annan smacks a right-foot volley wide frm 25 yards. Good early intent from both teams.

  19. 606  

    From redandblackT: "Can we finally get a goal by a striker? Please?"

  20. 4 mins Commentary  

    My kingdom for a decent free-kick... Ghana have a great position 22 yards out, but Asamoah Gyan, the striker with '3' on his back, curls up and over the bar.

  21. Twitter  

    From anand_ramki: "This game has produced more excitement/urgency in five mins than the whole of the Slovenia game!"

  22. 9 mins Commentary  

    It has calmed down a little bit after a promising start, but both Serbia and Ghana look dangerous - and pacy - in the final third.

  23. 12 mins Commentary  

    Our friends at Infostrada Sports tell us Robert Koren's winner for Slovenia was the tenth consecutive World Cup goal produced by a player who is not a forward - which is a new World Cup record. Pressure on Asamoah Gyan, Nikola Zigic and Marko Pantelic to end that sequence.

  24. 15 mins Commentary  

    Decent pressure from Ghana as the crowd turn the volume up a notch in Pretoria. A corner is half cleared and Kwadwo Asamoah's fierce left-foot shot is turned behind by a diving Nikol Zigic, back helping his defenders.

  25. SMS  

    From Anon (you'll see why at the end): "On paper, the Serbian team is very strong. Potential dark horses of the tournament? That defence looks rock solid on paper and with creativity in the final third I think they can go a long way. Looks a better bet than my 'Crouch as Golden Boot winner' after Saturday's showing."

  26. 19 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Birmingham new boy Nikola Zigic is the first man in the book after he blatantly obstructs Ghana's Dede Ayew. From the free-kick, John Mensah heads a presentable chance wide.

  27. 21 mins Commentary  

    Kevin-Prince Boateng whips over an inswinging cross from the Ghana left and Asamoah Gyan cannot quite get a big enough touch at the near post to head it in. Incidentally, if you fancy checking out a different minute-by-minute text commentary, there's one going on right here.

  28. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "Zigic is 6ft 8in tall. When Serbia get that ball wide they look to get the ball to him at the back post but they must not play like that all the time. They must play into feet some time."

  29. 24 mins Commentary  

    Incidentally, Slovenia jumped to the top of Group C with a late Robert Koren goal against 10-man Algeria earlier on today, a fact that hugely annoyed BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks, who was watching the game next to me desperately hoping for a draw to help England out.

  30. 26 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Ghana's Isaac Vorsah is the next man in the book after going straight through Nikola Zigic, who has been heavily involved in the early stages of the game.

  31. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Alan Green  

    "The refereeing so far at this World Cup has been absolutely fantastic, so well done to Fifa and all the officials for that. Right from the first game, so let's hope it continues."

  32. 29 mins Commentary  

    You know, that's not a bad free-kick, that. Serbia's left-back Aleksandar Kolarov curls one just past the post and bar from 30 yards, but we're still waiting for a bit of set-piece magic. Now when are Portugal playing again...?

  33. 32 mins Commentary  

    Marko Pantelic is definitely selfish enough to be a centre-forward - he collects the ball down the left, cuts inside and shoots low into the side-netting of Richard Kingson's goal.

  34. 606  

    From BigEggo: "Serbia haven't been quite as good as I'd expected them to be so far. Perhaps early jitters, but Ghana certainly look to have settled quicker."

  35. 37 mins Commentary  

    Ghana's delivery has been pretty good, especially compared to the teams that have played so far at this World Cup. Dede Ayew swings over a fine centre from the left but it's just a fraction too high for Asamoah Gyan.

  36. 39 mins Commentary  

    Great run from Milan Jovanovic, the Serb showing a decent turn of pace to get forward and to the edge of the Ghana box - but after he is crowded out, Dejan Stankovic's shot is fumbled and then gathered by Richard Kingson on the keeper's 32nd birthday.

  37. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "It's very evenly balanced now. Ghana started well but Serbia have come back into it. It would be very hard to say who's going to win."

  38. 43 mins Commentary  

    I've cursed this World Cup, haven't I? After a decent start, this has gone the same way as the previous six games - ie goal-starved. I'd pay 1,000 rand for one right now.

  39. 45 mins INJURY TIME  

    We're into one added minute in Pretoria, almost time to get the kettle on.

  40. 15:46 HALF-TIME Serbia 0-0 Ghana  

    Time for the teams to take a breather at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Ghana's players have an on-pitch huddle before going back in for the break.

  41. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "It's been entertaining enough, but the end product in the penalty box to bring us that goal has not been there. The lack of goals in the tournament so far is because of the pressure on the first game - you want to win it, but you desperately don't want to lose it."

  42. Twitter  

    From DWhiteFootball: "The journo next to me has actually fallen asleep in his chair."

  43. 15:54 Commentary  

    I seriously need your banter. Please get involved - you can Tweet me @Stevo_football, you can join in on your 606 page or you can send texts to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Pretty please.

  44. SMS  

    From Shane, Manchester: "This World Cup's rapidly becoming a farce due to the Jabulani, if you watch carefully it is just too bouncy - especially at pace. The best footballers in the world are already struggling here."

  45. 16:00 Commentary  

    The players are back out in Pretoria, let's hope those energy drinks are about to kick in and do their stuff.

  46. 16:01 Commentary  

    We are very much back under way at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

  47. 48 mins Commentary  

    Players just cannot cross this football - even Ghana, who were decent at the start of this game, have started over-hitting it, this time Asamoah Gyan's effort from the right flying miles over everyone.

  48. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "Serbia have to get Krasic involved more. He has tremendous pace and he hasn't been used as I would have expected him to be. The quality has to improve in the second half."

  49. 49 mins Commentary  

    Milan Jovanovic does really well to forge his way into the box down the left for Serbia but he has a rush of blood and slices a left-foot shot horribly off target.

  50. 606  

    From tomabarlow: "I wish people would shut up about the Jabulani, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The two mistakes we've seen from the goalkeepers was just that - mistakes, horrible, horrible mistakes. As for the best players in the world 'struggling' with it - did we see Messi 'struggling'? Was Gerrard 'struggling'? No. Stop making excuses people."

  51. 53 mins Commentary  

    That's a terrific chance. Prince Tagoe floats over a lovely cross (it can be done!) from the right over the head of Nemanja Vidic and at the back post Dede Ayew can only head poorly wide. Got to hit the target there, son.

  52. 55 mins Commentary  

    Vladimir Stojkovic punches a Ghana corner to the edge of the Serbia box where Kevin-Prince Boateng volleys hopelessly over the bar. With any ball that's a difficult shot to take on - but he's not short of confidence is he?

  53. 56 mins Commentary  

    Dede Ayew goes on a good, direct run at the heart of the Serbian defence but when he gets to 22 yards out he can only slice a right-foot shot well off target.

  54. Twitter  

    From vin103: "Jabulani ball encourages passing along deck, penalises long ball. I support this ball."

  55. 59 mins Commentary  

    Two threatening moments for Serbia in quick succession as Marko Pantelic rolls his marker down the right only to waste the cross, before Nikola Zigic is denied a clear chance by a fine intervention from Isaac Vorsah.

  56. 60 mins HITS THE WOODWORK  

    Closest we've come to a goal in Pretoria as Ghana launch a long throw into the Serbia box and Asamoah Gyan gets up well to head against Vladimir Stojkovic's left-hand post from six yards.

  57. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "This game is stretching. Players are on the edge of both boxes and there is going to be some space. I don't know if the teams are getting tired but it is certainly stretching now."

  58. 64 mins Commentary  

    I'm really disappointed in Serbia - with the quality of players in that team, they've offered very little so far. Ghana still looking the likelier winners.

  59. Twitter  

    From getpersonal: "As a Wigan Athletic fan I'll be annoyed if this finishes goalless: it'll be either keeper's first clean sheet in ages!"

  60. 69 mins Commentary  

    I wish I could talk you through some action, but there really isn't any. A cross is too high for 6ft 8in Nikola Zigic and moments later he is taken off and replaced by Danko Lazovic.

  61. 71 mins Commentary  

    We've had only eight goals in nearly seven games so far at this World Cup, probably not what anyone was expecting a couple of days ago. Maybe Germany and Australia can do better later.

  62. 72 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Ghana bring Bologna midfielder Stephen Appiah on for Kwadwo Asamoah.

  63. 74 mins RED CARD Aleksandar Lukovic (Serbia)  

    Can't remember what his first one was for, but that's a definite yellow card. Lukovic gets the wrong side of Asamoah Gyan and grabs his arm to stop the striker getting away from him. Easy decision as he is shown a second yellow and a red.

  64. 76 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Raddy Antic tries to shore up the Serbia defence, with Neven Subotic coming on for Milan Jovanovic.

  65. 79 mins Commentary  

    Serbia have come to life and Milos Krasic has to score as the ball lands on his left foot in front of goal 12 yards out, but his shot is too close to Richard Kingson and the keeper pushes it over the bar. What a chance for the 10 men to steal it.

  66. 80 mins Commentary  

    From Milos Krasic's corner, Nemanja Vidic heads over. Maybe they prefer to play as 10 men, like Inter Milan? Maybe it's a Dejan Stankovic thing...

  67. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "It was still a good save by the keeper but the finish from Milos Krasic was poor. You have to just get it wide of the keeper with a bit of pace. He should have scored."

  68. 82 mins Commentary  

    Fabulous break from right-back by Serbia's Branislav Ivanovic and suddenly he's 25 yards out with a shooting chance - but the Chelsea man's shot flies a little over the bar.

  69. 83 mins PENALTY To Ghana  
  70. 85 mins GOAL Serbia 0-1 Ghana  

    Just as it looked as though Serbia were on top, Ghana take the lead in bizarre circumstances. A cross into the Serbia box is inexplicably handled by Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who is booked, and up steps Asamoah Gyan to send Vladimir Stojkovic the wrong way and get an African team to within minutes of victory at the African World Cup.

  71. 86 mins Commentary  

    Now there's urgency, as Serbia launch the ball fruitlessly into the Ghana box. Raddy Antic looks utterly bemused at what his number 22 just did inside his own penalty area.

  72. 87 mins Commentary  

    Redemption beckons, but Zdravko Kuzmanovic can only lash a right-foot shot miles over from just inside the Ghana half.

  73. 89 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Prince Tagoe tries to control a long ball and shoots narrowly wide from just outside the Serbia box, but he had handled the ball and picks up a yellow card for his trouble. The atmosphere in Pretoria sounds sensational.

  74. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    We're into three minutes of stoppage time at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Ghana take Kevin-Prince Boateng off and send on Lee Addy.

  75. 90 mins HITS THE WOODWORK  

    That would have wrapped it up. Asamoah Gyan finds himself in time and space on the left-hand side of the Serbia 18-yard box, but his precise right-foot curler hits the inside of the post and rebounds to safety. He's then taken off and replaced by Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

  76. 16:50 FULL-TIME Serbia 0-1 Ghana  

    The pictures show how much this means. Ghana's players celebrate wildly, while Serbia's look like they are out already.

  77. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "The stadium is completely alive, the players are hugging each other and the noise is deafening. It's almost like they are into the next round already."

  78. 16:54 Commentary  

    Ghana's John Pantsil repeats the ceremony he performs at his club side Fulham, picking up a Ghana flag from the crowd and taking it on a lap of honour around the pitch at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium. He and his team-mates are in ecstasy.

  79. 606  

    From darkanddom: "Go Ghana! Excellent boys. GO BLACK STARS!! CONGRATS from all of Africa and those of us with African roots!! Go Ghana! I wonder how the Ghanaian coach who is from Serbia feels? Bittersweet. Great win Ghana. Congrats my brothers!"

  80. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "Serbia's next game is against Germany so a lot depends on the outcome of Germany versus Australia. Ghana are just so happy. Everybody is celebrating. The whole continent gets behind the African teams even when it's not their own country playing."

  81. SMS  

    From George: "First African win in WC 2010, bravo Ghana!"

  82. Twitter  

    From OliverKayTimes: "Only one Euro win in five attempts so far. France, Greece, England, Slovenia, Serbia disappointing. Climate? I'm not convinced."

  83. 17:11 Commentary  

    The goals-per-game ratio has dipped once more, now to a paltry 1.25. But the fact that we have an African winner at this World Cup at the fourth time of asking is of far more significance, so massive congrats to Ghana and the whole continent. Fret yet not, the goals will come.

  84. 17:15 Commentary  

    I must leave you, but I leave you in the capable hands of Mr Sam Lyon, who will lead the build-up to Germany v Australia from Durban. I'll be back in a bit to bring you coverage of the game, so see you soon.

By Pranav Soneji

An 85th-minute penalty from Asamoah Gyan ensured Ghana began their Group D campaign with victory against 10-man Serbia.

The striker converted emphatically from the spot when Serbia substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic was penalised for handball attempting to clear a dangerous cross.

Raddy Antic's side had struggled to contain Ghana's dominance in midfield and their task was made even more perilous when defender Aleksandar Lukovic was red carded for his second bookable offence in the 74th minute.

The four-time African champions had dominated large stretches of the game, creating sufficient opportunities to win by a greater margin than the scoreline suggested.

Serbia boss Raddy Antic named his strongest starting XI following Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic's return from illness.

Meanwhile, Ghana manager Milovan Rajevac, a Serb, omitted European Cup-winning midfielder Sulley Muntari in midfield, while Kevin-Prince Boateng, who represented Germany under-21s, lined up for only his second appearance in a Black Stars shirt.

Despite the lack of clear-cut first-half chances, the first 45 minutes were played at a rapid tempo as both sides displayed slick passing moves, albeit without the crucial addition of a quality final ball.

Ghana created the first genuine opportunity of the match when a stinging goalbound left-foot strike by Kwadwo Asamoah was deflected wide by the sprawling right leg of striker Nikola Zigic, while John Mensah and Asamoah Gyan failed to capitalise on half-chances shortly after.

Serbia's best opportunity came from a set-piece when Aleksandar Kolarov's superbly struck 30-yard left-footed free-kick curled past the left-hand post.

Ghana once again dictated the tempo at the start of the second half, with Andre Ayew miscuing a header wide with his marker Vidic well beaten.

Gyan went even closer soon after when he leapt elegantly to meet John Pantsil's long throw into the 18-yard box, only for his powerful six-yard header to skim the outside of Vladmir Stokjovic's left-hand post.

Although Serbia were not without their chances - a Marko Pantelic cross was well blocked by Isaac Vorsah with Zigic lurking - Antic's side showed little attacking threat in the final third.

And Serbia were forced to endure a nervous final 15 minutes when Lukovic was sent off for a second bookable offence when he held back Gyan on the half-way line.

However, Richard Kingson produced a fine stop to deny Milos Krasic when the CSKA Moscow midfielder fired a stinging 12-yard strike straight at the keeper following an enterprising left-wing run from Pantelic.

But Ghana eventually made their dominance count when Kuzmanovic inexplicably left his arm lingering when attempting to head clear a dangerous cross, allowing Gyan the opportunity to step up and wrong-foot goalkeeper Stokjovic with a powerful penalty.

The Rennes striker almost added a second in injury time when his curling shot struck the post with Stokjovic beaten.

Serbia Serbia Flag 0-1 Ghana Flag Ghana FT

(HT 0-0)

 Gyan (pen), 84

Serbia

Ghana

 

Substitutes:

Substitutes:

  • Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium
  • Referee: H Baldassi
  • Attendance: 38,833
Serbia     Ghana
  • Possession 50%
    50%
  • Attempts on target 3
    3
  • Attempts off target 8
    8
  • Corners 4
    4
  • Fouls 6
    15

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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