Gyan scores in extra time to give Ghana 2-1 win over US and spot in quarters

RUSTENBURG, South Africa — African joy was American heartache at the World Cup on Saturday.

Asamoah Gyan scored in the third minute of extra time to give Ghana a 2-1 win over the United States and make it only the third African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

The teams were level at 1-1 after 90 minutes at Royal Bafokeng Stadium before Gyan ran onto a long pass and held off defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit to smash a left-foot shot over goalkeeper Tim Howard from about 12 metres yards out.

Ghana will now meet Uruguay in the next round at Soccer City on Friday.

"Me and my colleagues were very disappointed there were no African teams with us," man-of-the-match Dede Ayew said. "Now we are lucky to be here, we must fight, not just for us, but for the other teams that are not here.

"We feel we have a continent behind us and the whole of Africa behind us and that's given us a lot of energy to fight more."

Kevin-Prince Boateng had put Ghana ahead in the fifth minute with a low shot from the edge of the area. He ran into space that opened as DeMerit kept retreating, then sent a ferocious shot that beat the diving Howard at his near post.

Landon Donovan equalized with a 62nd-minute penalty after Jonathan Mensah swiped away Clint Dempsey's leg, picking up his second yellow card of the tournament, ruling him out of the quarter-final.

Donovan crouched in contemplation as he prepared to take the penalty kick, picking at the grass and ignoring the players around him before getting up to steer his kick in off the right-hand post.

It was Donovan's U.S.-record fifth goal at the World Cup and 45th in international football.

The United States threw Howard into attack in the closing stage of extra time, but Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson punched the ball away from a corner in just one of a string of his key interventions, and the Americans never came any closer.

"Ghana is now among the best eight teams in the world," Ghana coach Milan Rajevac said. "The whole world is watching these games. Before the game, I said that everybody loves good football on each continent. So at the moment, Ghana has the support of the whole world."

Both teams created enough chances to have won the game in normal time, with Ghana dominating the first 45 minutes before U.S. coach Bob Bradley stabilized his team at halftime with the second of two substitutions.

Ghana defended in numbers to deny space for the likes of Donovan and Dempsey to attack from deep, and countered swiftly through Boateng, Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and Gyan when it did win possession.

"I really felt when we got to 1-1 there were some chances for us," Bradley said. "Early in the overtime we go down again early. At that point, with everything we put into the game early, we didn't have enough after that."

Ricardo Clark got a yellow card and only played until the 31st before Bradley withdrew him for Maurice Edu. Bradley then took off Robbie Findley at halftime, undoing the second of the two personnel changes he had made to his starting lineup.

Although Boateng curled a shot over the bar and Gyan put wide a long-range effort, the United States started to piece together some good attacks and Dempsey and substitute Benny Feilhaber were both denied only by well-timed tackles in the area.

Boateng was substituted with a hamstring injury, while Ayew will definitely miss the next round after picking up a booking.

"This is the major problem we are facing for the game against Uruguay, the cards and the injuries," Rajevic said. "We will react tomorrow. There is a lot of work for our medical staff."

The west African players seemed to have learned their lesson from the last World Cup when they attacked Brazil too freely in their second-round meeting and were beaten 3-0 by the five-time world champions.

After reaching the final of last year's Confederations Cup in South Africa, the United States had high hopes of emulating its 2002 feat of making it to the World Cup quarter-finals. But Ghana eliminated the Americans for a second straight tournament, having won 2-1 in a 2006 group game to reach the round of 16 in Germany.

"We always understand the responsibility we have as a national team to show how far the game has come in the States, to fight for respect," Bradley said. "We felt we moved things along with our performance in the Confederations Cup and as we moved through the first round."

There were almost as many England flags as there were Stars and Stripes on display by fans around the stadium, with many English fans having bought tickets in expectation of seeing their team.

But those calculations were thrown out when the United States won Group C over England on goal difference, giving the Americans the game in Rustenburg and forcing England into an unexpectedly early confrontation with Group D winner Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

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Lineups:

United States: Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Bornstein, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark (Maurice Edu, 31), Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore (Herculez Gomez, 90), Robbie Findley (Benny Feilhaber, 46).

Ghana: Richard Kingson, Hans Sarpei (Lee Addy, 73), Asamoah Gyan, John Pantsil, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom (Sulley Muntari, 113), Jonathan Mensah, Dede Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Kevin-Prince Boateng (Stephen Appiah, 78).