After an opening round loss against Portugal that felt like a missed opportunity, Ghana were on the hunt for their first win of the World Cup against South Korea. The Black Stars entered matchday two in a must-win scenario as the only team in group H without points. South Korea were eager to pick up a win and breakthrough on goal after recording zero attempts on target in their previous game, a 0-0 draw against Uruguay. Ultimately, the two teams played an exciting five goal thriller as Ghana defeated South Korea 3-2 for their first group win at the World Cup.
Mohammed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus scored the goals for Ghana. It was the first time the nation has ever scored three goals in a single World Cup game. The African squad endured early pressure from South Korea -- who earned five corners in the opening 15 minutes -- but ultimately played their way into the match by disrupting play with a counter and earning a free kick.
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Salisu slotted the ball in for the first goal of the match after a soaring delivery by Jordan Ayew on a set piece. Some colliding bodies in the box led to a brief chat with VAR to confirm there was no hand ball.
Just 10 minutes later, the Black Stars scored their second goal of the match. Ayew delivered a long pass into the box from a nearly identical spot as the earlier free kick that led to the first goal. The accuracy of the cross was perfect for Kudus and the winger got the slightest of touches with his forehead to redirect the ball into goal.
A two goal lead at halftime led to more urgency for South Korea during the second half. Zero attempts on target through three halves for the South Koreans flipped a switch in the attack, and the addition of Lee Kang-in into the game helped spark offense. Lee and Son Heung-min forced a turnover and a quick pass into the box was headed into goal by Cho Gue-sung.
A strong commitment to the counter press and in-game substitutions turned the tide a bit in South Korea's favor. Constant involvement by left-back Kim Jin-su helped open up opportunities in the attack, and he provided the assist on Cho's equalizer for South Korea -- that he scored just three minutes after South Korea's first World Cup goal.
With the two teams in a 2-2 deadlock, the match was a vibrant affair, but the lead was short lived for South Korea. Ghana continued to find success in dangerous spaces despite conceding the lead briefly. The game winner was a product of more smart play initiated out wide by Ayew as he combined with Iñaki Williams on the left flank. A lofted cross by Williams ultimately landed to Kudus for his second goal of the match.
A whopping 10 minutes of stoppage time wasn't enough for South Korea to generate another equalizer, and Ghana's first group win has put them in a strong position on the final matchday of group play. Ghana is currently in second place among the group after a 2-0 win by Portugal over Uruguay on Monday. The results mean Portugal has clinched first place in Group H and a place in the knockout rounds. There is now one final group match remaining for Group H. Ghana will face Uruguay on Friday and South Korea against Portugal.
Second place is still on the line with a number of differentstill in play. The clear path to the final 16 for Ghana is a win against Uruguay. A draw means they will need a better goal differential than South Korea if they beat Portugal on Friday.