Soccer News of Saturday, 24 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Both players and the technical team of the Black Stars described yesterday’s hard fought 1-0 win over Algeria as a big relief and one that has also revived their self-belief.
With a difficult hurdle to clear against Algeria, Ghana had to wait till deep into injury time to score their winner to secure their first three points at this tournament.
Coach Avram Grant described the win as important and a big relief, stressing that striker Asamoah Gyan had yet again proved how important he was to the team.
“Before the game, everyone wanted to know if Asamoah could play, and I said he was an important player to us, so if he could, he would be played. He just underscored that point with his strike,” Coach Grant asserted.
He also commended his players for their fighting spirit and unrelenting effort, not reeling under pressure but remaining calm and composed as they pushed for the elusive goals.
“For me, the win was as important as our composure. For a young team, their desperation to win was exhibited with calmness and confidence and that is a big psychological effort from the team,” the coach indicated.
Gyan, who scored the goal, said it was more of a relief than the joy of adding to his goal-scoring credentials as the leading goal scorer for Ghana.
“We are more relieved than overjoyed. We needed to win at all cost and had to put in our all. When the fourth referee showed the time added on, we refused to accept that it was over and decided to give it our very last effort and thankfully it worked.
“I do not take the credit for the win. As the leader, I had to do what was most needed of me and we are just relieved that it worked,” Gyan told the Daily Graphic in a post-match interview.
Gyan’s fitness was in doubt having been down with malaria all week, and he was far from his dangerous self when the game began, but, no doubt, his experience paid off for the gamble coach Grant took.