Euro 2012 qual. - Gyan strikes as Ghana hold England

Tue, 29 Mar 21:54:00 2011

Asamoah Gyan struck in stoppage time to earn Ghana a deserved 1-1 draw with England in a superb friendly encounter at Wembley Stadium.

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The Sunderland striker left Joleon Lescott for dead before slipping the ball beyond home goalkeeper Joe Hart from inside the area as the clock hit the 90-minute mark.

Andy Carroll seemed to have handed Fabio Capello's men the victory when he lashed a left-foot shot low into the corner of the visiting net after he had been played in by Stewart Downing's deft knockdown.

It was his first goal for England, and the Liverpool striker enjoyed a fine evening before being replaced by Jermain Defoe around the hour mark.

Capello made seven changes from his side's 2-0 win over Wales in the Euro 2012 qualifier at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday with Gareth Barry installed as his stand-in captain - the fifth man to be handed the job under the Italian coach - but he could have few complaints about the men that were brought in.

An inexperienced England side moved the ball around with a freedom that has not been seen at Wembley in recent times against a Ghana team who were equally committed to attack.

Hart, Glen Johnson, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Young were the only England players who started against Wales in Cardiff.

Manchester City man Hart was first into action as he raced from his line to block Dominic Adiyiah's shot on seven minutes with the home defence cut wide open.

England responded immediately as Dowining forced John Mensah to knock a cross behind his own goal on eight minutes before the Aston Villa winger walloped a shot wide of the target on 10 minutes with play raging from end to end.

England were almost in for the opener on 23 minutes when James Milner accepted a lovely pass from Downing before crossing for Young. He seemed destined to net, but somehow saw the shot rebound off the bar from five yards with Blackpool keeper Richard Kingson beaten.

Hart produced a sublime stop on 25 minutes to claw out an effort from Adiyiah on 25 minutes after Sulley Muntari's floated free-kick had evaded the England defenders.

England's opening goal was a thing of beauty as Downing knocked Young's pass into the path of Carroll, who rattled a shot beyond the despairing dive of Kingson. It was his first goal since December.

The second half was disrupted by the usual rash of substitutions, but there was no lack of energy or commitment from either side as Barry managed to deflect John Pantsil's volley over the bar on 58 minutes.

Milner forced Kingson to make a diving stop on 63 minutes before Gyan knocked a shot into the side of the home net when it looked easier to score.

Danny Welbeck, who could have played for Ghana, just failed to connect with a cross from Leighton Baines on 84 minutes in the heart of the Ghana box, but Gyan was to have the final telling say of the night when he showed some sublime skill to tuck the shot away from Hart low to the keeper's right.

England have yet to fall to defeat to an African nation, but Ghana and several thousand of their superb fans will treat this draw like a victory after a thoroughly entertaining contest.


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