Muntari seals Ghana win


1 min: After all the fan-fair, Guinea get us underway …

4 mins: Youla gets one-on-one with the keeper, but is harshly adjudged offside and puts his effort wide anyway. Warning sign for Ghana though.

8 mins: Ghana begin applying pressure as Gyan almost gets Agogo free, and then finds space in the box himself to put the first shot of the tournament wide. A terrible goal-kick goes straight to Gyan, but his first-touch is awful and the chance is wasted.

13 mins: There is a good early pace to the game as Guinea do their fair share of attacking, constantly trying to put the ball behind the Black Stars defence, without success. Essien is seeing lots of the ball, which is good news for the home side.

18 mins: Bangoura finds acres of space 30 yards out from the Ghana goal, but his effort goes horribly high and wide. The home defence has looked anything but secure, however. The game has settled down a little after the frenetic pace of the opening few minutes.

20 mins: Agogo hits the post! The cross from Owuso-Abetie comes in from the left and Agogo meets the ball well, but it bounces off the post and then across the goal-line, before being scrambled to safety. Unlucky!

26 mins: Gyan goes close with an over-head kick that goes inches wide of the upright. At the other end, Bangoura again finds space, this time inside the box, but he hits a tame effort at the goalkeeper, who saves easily.

31 mins: Ghana hit the post again! This time it is Essien who rises high from the corner and angles his header onto the far post. So unlucky for the home side. They must be wondering if it is going to be one of those days …

37 mins: Laryea Kingston breaks on the right, but his ball into the box is poor. The officials have left the grass very long on the pitch and it is making it difficult for players to find their passing range.

42 mins: Would you believe it, Ghana have hit the woodwork again! Muntari’s volley at the back post is superbly controlled, but hits the outside of the post and goes behind for a goal-kick. Gyan has the ball in the back of the net, but is penalized for a push on the defender. Correct decision by the referee. Laryea Kingston plays in a superb free-kick, but Mensah can’t direct his header on goal. Excellent chance goes begging.

HALFTIME: The score is 0-0 at the break, but Ghana can certainly count themselves unlucky after hitting the post three times and have numerous other opportunities. Still, Guinea hold on and will no doubt be dangerous on the counter-attack in the second half.

46 mins: Ghana get the second half underway.

51 mins: Ghana are winning headers at will in the Guinea box. This time it is Gyan who latches onto Laryea Kingston’s free-kick, but he can’t keep his effort down. Agoga then swings a boot at the ball from eight yards, but his effort is saved. Kingston then bends a ball goalwards from an acute angle, but Camara saves again.

53 mins: YELLOW CARD: Guinea skipper Feindouno gets a booking for repeat infringements. He’s got to be careful now.

55 mins: GOAL! Agogo is brought down by Kalabane in the penalty area for a clear penalty and Gyan converts. At last the home side has the breakthrough!

61 mins: YELLOW CARD: Addo gets a booking for a cynical foul. Balde almost beats goalkeeper Kingston to the ball as Guinea go in search of an equaliser. Addo then puts in a great tackle to deny Youla in the box. He had to make that clean or risked giving away a spot-kick.

64 mins: GOAL! Guinea equalise! The man who gave away the penalty, Kalabane, powers a bullet header goalwards and Kingston in the home goal can do nothing to stop it.

70 mins: YELLOW CARD Muntari is booked for a challenge on Feindouno. Ghana are pressing for a winner.

76 mins: Agogo almost breaks free in the box, but is tackled at the last moment. Essien has a shot from 30-yards deflected wide. Andre Ayew, some of Abedi Pele, comes on for Owusu-Abeyie.

82 mins: Ayew almost scores with his first touch after great work from Gyan, but Camara saves well from the 17-year-old. Muntari shoots wide after another excellent touch from Gyan. Addo puts in an excellent tackle to deny Bangoura as Guinea flood men forward in the closing stages.

87 mins: Baffour Gyan is brought on for Asamoah Gyan, who has been excellent tonight. Guinea are doing well in these final stages to keep the Ghanaians at bay, though Laryea Kingston makes a good break down the left, but holds onto the ball too long and is tackled.

90 mins: GOAL! What a screamer! Muntari picks up the ball 30 yards out and fires a powerful drive that leaves Camara with no chance. It is a goal worthy of winning any match.

90 mins: YELLOW CARD: Laryea Kingston collects a booking.

FULLTIME: That’s it! Ghana have won with a cracking goal sealing victory. In truth it is all they deserve after dominating much of the game and having enough chances to win comfortably. Their bid for a fifth continental title is well underway.

Ghana 2 (Asamoah Gyan 55pen, Sulley Muntari 90)Guinea 1 (Oumar Kalabane 65)

Yellow cards: Addo, Kingston, Muntari; Kalabane, Feindouno

Ghana: 22 Richard Kingson, 2 Hans Sarpei, 3 Asamoah Gyan (Baffour Gyan 85th), 4 John Painstil, 5 John Mensah, 7 Laryea Kingston, 8 Michael Essien, 9 Junior Agogo, 11 Sulley Muntari, 18 Eric Addo, 20 Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (12 Andre Ayew 76th)

Guinea: 16 Kemoko Camara, 21 Daouda Jabi, 15 Oumar Kalabane, 13 Mohamed Sacko, 12 Alseny Camara, 11 Souleymane Youla (19 Karamoko Cisse 62nd), 10 Ismael Bangoura, 9 Victor Correa (14 Naby Soumah 62nd), 8 Kanfory Sylla (23 Mamadou Dioulde Bah 93rd), 5 Bobo Balde, 2 Pascal Feindouno