Ghana will this afternoon face South Korea in a must-win match for the Black Stars, who need a win to get their campaign back on track after a controversial defeat to Portugal in their opener last Thursday in Doha.
Having achieved knockout berths in their first two appearances in 2006 and 2012, Ghana failed to make it past the group stage in 2014 when they lost 2-1 to Portugal in their last group match in Brazil. Similarly, Portugal handed them another defeat last Thursday and they would have to redeem themselves against South Korea to keep their qualifying dream alive.
The Black Stars responded quickly through Andre Ayew’s equaliser when Cristiano Ronaldo won and converted a controversial penalty in the second half. But the Al Sadd forward’s strike couldn’t stand the test of time when A Seleção increased their tally through Joao Felix and Rafael Leao’s strikes. Osman Bukari came from the bench to reduce the margin when he found himself at the end of a fine cross from Baba Rahman to record a debut World Cup goal.
Head Coach Otto Addo says his team noted loopholes during the clash and would improve those ahead of their battle with South Korea.
“Maybe for the public, we lost but for us, we learned. We learn always. Sometimes even when we win, we did everything right so we always learn and I’m happy to have a team that is ready,” he told the press ahead of the match against South Korea.
The team last won a World Cup match in the round of 16 against the USA in 2010 and the gaffer is confident his team is poised to get back on track with a win.
“If we win against South Korea and Portugal wins, hopefully, against Uruguay, then we will be second, so the chance is still great.
“For sure, it will be very, very tough to beat South Korea because they are good, but now we have to win. We are under pressure, but they are too.” He added.
South Korea had earlier held Uruguay to a pulsating but blank draw last Thursday. The Asians Tigers, however, had to thank the woodwork when Fede Valverde and Diego Godin saw their attempts crush the frame.
The fact that Ghana went toe-to-toe with a compact Portuguese team is expected to send some caution to the South Koreans but manager, Paulo Bento says his team is capable of stunning the Black Stars.
“I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. I would love the players to feel the way I do, but I know they come from a different culture, We will have a difficult game but we are able to do well,” he said.
Another poor record for Ghana is the fact that they have conceded in each of their last eight World Cup matches.
The match will begin at 1 p.m. local time (13:00 GMT) at the Education City Stadium.
FORM GUIDE (LAST FIVE MATCHES)
South Korea are unbeaten in their last five games with wins over Asian counterparts Japan, Iceland and Cameroon, another African side. In Ghana’s last five matches, their setback to Portugal was the second while recording wins against Nicaragua and Switzerland before heading to Qatar.
SOUTH KOREA’S FORM
24 November 2022 Uruguay 0-0 South Korea 2022 World Cup Group H
11 November 2022 South Korea 1–0 Iceland Friendly
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27 September 2022 South Korea 1–0 Cameroon Friendly
23 September 2022 South Korea 2–2 Costa Rica Friendly
27 July 2022 Japan 3–0 South Korea EAFF E-1 Football Championship
24 November 2022 Portugal 3-2 Ghana 2022 World Cup Group H
17 November 2022 Ghana 2–0 Switzerland Friendly
27 September 2022 Nicaragua 0–1 Ghana Friendly
23 September 2022 Brazil 3–0 Ghana Friendly
14 June 2022 Chile 0–0 Ghana Kirin Cup Soccer
HEAD TO HEAD
The two sides will meet for the first time at the World Cup in Monday’s clash. That notwithstanding, they have played each other nine times in International friendly matches and invitational tournaments.
In their last five meetings, Ghana have won three while South Korea have two victories. In their most recent meeting, Ghana scored four unanswered goals against the Asians in a pre-World Cup match in June 2014. In the said match out-of-form striker, Jordan Ayew scored a hattrick after replacing Abdul Majeed Waris in the 4th minute when the latter sustained an injury.
17 August 1982 S. Korea 0-1 Ghana Merdeka Tournament
15 June 1983 S. Korea 1-0 Ghana President`s Cup
25 September 1983 Ghana 1-1 S. Korea Merdeka Tournament
10 February 1993 S. Korea 3-1 Ghana International Friendly
14 June 1997 S. Korea 3-0 Ghana S. Korea Tournament
04 June 2006 Ghana 3-1 S. Korea International Friendly
08 October 2006 S. Korea 1-3 Ghana International Friendly
07 June 2011 S. Korea 2-1 Ghana International Friendly
09 June 2014 Ghana 4-0 S. Korea International Friendly
Hwang Hee-chan is a major doubt for Paulo Bento’s side as the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker recuperates from a hamstring injury. Son Heung Min is no more doubt as he featured in the Tigers’ first game against Uruguay with a mask on.
(4-2-3-1): Seung-gyu; Moon-hwan, Min-jae, Young-gwon, Jin-su; Jung, In-beom; Na, Lee, Son; Ui-jo
Otto Addo will not have any injury concerns heading into the tie. Meanwhile, Andre Ayew and Alidu Seidu trained separately during Ghana’s recovery training but later joined in subsequent drills.
(3-4-1-2): Ati Zigi; Amartey, Djiku, Salisu; Seidu, Partey, Abdul Samed, Baba; Kudus; A. Ayew, Williams