South Korea 2-3 Ghana: Player Evaluations as the Black Stars take the lead Classic World Cup

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Ghana held off a South Korean comeback to earn their first World Cup victory in 2022.

In a thrilling second half, Paulo Bento’s men came from two goals down to draw level, before Otto Addo’s side edged back in front and weathered a storm to take the three points. South Korea dominated the first half of the opening 45 minutes, completely encircling Ghana and racking up seven corners, but were unable to carve out many clear openings.

They were punished for failing to capitalize on their early dominance, with Mohammed Salisu scrambling in a whipped free-kick from Jordan Ayew in the 24th minute. Following a lengthy VAR check for a potential handball against Andre Ayew in the midst of the chaos, the goal was allowed to stand.

Ten minutes later, Ghana added a second after another fantastic cross from Jordan Ayew was deftly headed in by Mohammed Kudus, whose run into the box had gone unnoticed.

After Ghana’s backline swarmed Son Heung-min, teeing up the open Kwon Chang-hoon to strike, South Korea’s first real sight of goal came from only 25 yards, with Lawrence Ati-Zigi tipping it up and over.

A Jordan Ayew corner nearly snuck all the way in at Kim Seung-near gyu’s post at the end of the first half, but he got a glove on it and diverted it wide off Thomas Partey’s shoulder.

In the second half, Paulo Bento chose to bring Son closer to striker Cho Gue-sung, and the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors forward tested Ati-Zigi with a diving header after a cross from free left-back Kim Jin-su shortly after the restart.

Another of Bento’s changes proved decisive as South Korea pulled one back. After evading Salisu’s poor marking, substitute Lee Kang-in robbed Tariq Lamptey of the ball and crossed for Cho to head in.

Cho grabbed his brace minutes later, this time leaping high above Gideon Mensah to meet Kim’s high ball from the byline and tie the game.

Despite their efforts, South Korea fell behind again seven minutes after equalizing. Inaki Williams sliced Mensah’s cutback, but Kudus was on hand to sweep in at the back post.

Ati-Zigi had to scramble to deflect Lee’s 25-yard free kick before Salisu cleared Kim’s shot off the line following the resulting corner.

Son was unable to control a low cross through the box in a move that nearly mirrored Ghana’s third, but the ball found its way through to Kim once more, but his effort sailed over the top.

Cho was looking for a hat-trick and came close in stoppage time, aiming for Ati-near Zigi’s post, only for the Ghana stopper to punch it wide.

South Korea threw everything at Ghana in an attempt to salvage a draw, but they were ultimately unsuccessful, and their chances of reaching the last 16 are now in jeopardy.

1. South Korea (4-2-3-1)

GK: Kim Seung-gyu – 4/10 – Had little command of his area and set up his box appallingly in the lead up to Ghana’s opener, with South Korea’s line way too deep.

RB: Kim Moon-hwan – 6/10 – Provided support on the wing but couldn’t deal with the Ayew brothers until the second half.

CB: Kim Min-jae – 4/10 – Started after picking up a knock against Uruguay but looked off the pace, losing his runners and making strange decisions in possession.

CB: Kim Young-gwon – 4/10 – Completely flummoxed by Ghana’s aerial bombardment.

LB: Kim Jin-su – 8/10 – Powered up and down the left flank, having a bit more freedom when Son took more of a central role.

CM: Hwang In-beom – 6/10 – Enjoyed a real possession battle with Ghana’s imposing midfield trio, breaking up play and dictating South Korea’s attacks.

CM: Jung Woo-young – 5/10 – Worked ever so hard as always but was a bit rash.

RM: Kwon Chang-hoon – 5/10 – Tested Ghana early on but faded and was replaced by Lee.

AM: Jeong Woo-yeong – 4/10 – Started the game close to Cho before almost fading out of it.

LM: Son Heung-min – 6/10 – Ghana doubled and tripled up on him in the first half plenty, but were unable to pin him down when afforded a free role in the second. Completely swamped again in stoppage time, though.

CF: Cho Gue-sung – 9/10 – A proper centre forward’s performance. Ghana had no idea how to deal with him once quality crosses started coming in.

SUB: Na Sang-ho (46′ for Jeong) – 6/10

SUB: Lee Kang-in (57′ for Kwon) – 8/10

SUB: Hwang Ui-Jo (79′ for Jung) – 5/10

SUB: Kwon Kyung-won (90′ for Kim) – N/A

Manager: Paulo Bento – 6/10 – Atoned for his poor first-half organisation with changes to bring South Korea back into the game. Sent off after the final whistle for his protests to Anthony Taylor.

2. Ghana (4-3-3)

GK: Lawrence Ati-Zigi – 5/10 – Flung himself across his goal often failing to keep the ball out.

RB: Tariq Lamptey – 4/10 – After a decent first half, the Brighton made lost all composure after the break.

CB: Daniel Amartey – 5/10 – Booked early on for an aggressive off-ball foul. Generally haphazard.

CB: Mohammed Salisu – 6/10 – Wasn’t great defensively, but did score a goal, so, every cloud…

LB: Gideon Mensah – 6/10 – Like Lamptey let his standards slip a little after a great opening.

CM: Salis Abdul Samed – 7/10 – Stormed around midfield dutifully breaking up play.

CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10 – Broke up play and spread it in his own radius.

CM: Mohammed Kudus – 9/10 – The Ajax midfielder’s stock continues to rise with another impressive goal-scoring display on a global stage.

RW: Jordan Ayew – 8/10 – His excellent delivery was a huge reason why Ghana secured the points.

CF: Inaki Williams – 5/10 – Failed to assert his authority or even control a ball, and yet that led to Kudus’ second.

LW: Andre Ayew – 6/10 – Wasn’t as useful as his brother but put in a decent shift at least.

SUB: Kamaldeen Sulemana (79′ for A. Ayew) – 5/10

SUB: Denis Odoi (79′ for Lamptey) – 5/10

SUB: Daniel-Kofi Kyereh (79′ for J. Ayew) – 6/10

SUB: Alexander Dijku (83′ for Kudus) – 5/10

SUB: Baba Rahman (88′ for Mensah) – N/A

Manager: Otto Addo – 6/10 – Ghana were a menace whenever they attacked, but their defending needs improvement.

Man of the Match – Mohammed Kudus


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[…] at the Education City Stadium, the Ghanaian team led by Andre Ayew, overcame South Korea 3-2 to increase their prospects of moving on to the next round of the FIFA World Cup in […]


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