Ghana's forward and captain Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring a goal during the Group G football match between Portugal and Ghana at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)
At Qatar 2022, Ghana will appear at a fourth Fifa World Cup, hoping for more good memories on a stage where they’ve had lots of fun in the past. Ahead of their November 24 kick-off against Portugal at the futuristic Stadium 974 in Doha, Ink & Kicks reviews the 13 goals already in the Black Stars’ World Cup account.
Today, we’re on Goal #13…
“My teammates trusted me,” Asamoah Gyan, reflecting on a truly memorable international career, said on TV recently.
“When you are in a team where your teammates trust you, it makes things easier.”
That relationship, according to Gyan, was particularly fruitful with one colleague.
“Although Kwadwo Asamoah was playing behind me, the communication was there… he knew every movement I was making.”
The 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, especially, provided notable instances of how well that chemistry worked, with Asamoah furnishing Gyan with brilliant assists for a couple of decisive goals at that tournament.
Four years later, that connection waxed strong.
Ghana had conceded first in their first two group games at the 2014 Fifa World Cup – salvaging a total of just one point from those losing positions – and, in their third, the Black Stars didn’t look like kicking the habit.
They continued on that path, when defender John Boye deflected a Portuguese cross past his own goalkeeper, Fatawu Dauda, in the first half.
Ghana, once more, had a game to chase – never mind a game to win, to have any chance of advancing to the next round – and it wasn’t until after the break that they finally pulled level.
Unsurprisingly, it was Gyan who came up with that hope-inspiring, confidence-reviving strike which made him the top-scoring African in World Cup history, outright, on six goals.
But if Gyan’s finish was seemingly simple – and maybe, being a close-range header, it was – the assist that made it possible required far more thought and effort; a true work of art from Kwadwo, his namesake.
The skipper did his bit by skipping into space, as the other Asamoah served the most delicious trivela — in a stadium named in honour of Mane Garrincha, one of the most skillful players ever to touch a football — to take out the entire Portuguese backline and dish out the chance on a plate.
It’s another great piece of skill that dissolved in defeat – much like Gyan’s own sublime touch to set up Andre Ayew in the opening loss to the USA days earlier – courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner that saw Ghana exit under a dark cloud (Portugal themselves ended the game eliminated, too, even if that knowledge hardly consoled Ghanaians).
Asamoah’s outside-of-the-foot pass would be reduced to a mere footnote, but like all true gems, it eventually resurfaced, years later, when comparisons were drawn on social media with Real Madrid star Luka Modric’s wonder of a trivela against Chelsea in the Uefa Champions League last season.
Gyan, of course, had his say; no prizes for guessing which, of the two, he favoured.