Ghana narrowly defeated Serbia in the opening match of Group D in Pretoria yesterday.
An Asamoah Gyan penalty in the 83rd minute gave the Black Stars all three points against a Serbian team reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Aleksander Lukovic for a second yellow card.
Ghana will go into their next match against Australia full of confidence after defeating a highly rated Serbian team who now face a tough task to better their group stage exit of four years ago.
Gyan’s conversion from the spot after substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic handled inside the area secured the first win of the tournament for an African team.
The penalty was the decisive moment of a tight encounter, with neither side able to break the deadlock in open play.
Serbia controlled the early possession and limited Ghana to half chances, but created little themselves. Kwadwo Asamoah struck a left-footed shot for the first real opportunity of the game in the 15th minute, John Mensah saw his header go over from a free kick shortly afterwards
Ghana grew into the game and started the second half well, but Serbia enjoyed the better chances. A Marko Pantelic cutback in the 57th minute couldn‘t find a red shirt, Nikola Zigic failed to hit the target at the back post minutes later.
The dismissal of Lukovic in the 74th minute for tugging down Gyan invited further Ghanaian pressure, but it was Serbia who then spurned the best chance of the game.
Danko Lazovic cut the ball back for Pantelic, who missed a simple shot. The ball then fell to the largely anonymous Milos Krasic, who struck his shot straight at Richard Kingson in the Ghana goal.
Five minutes later and Gyan’s penalty gave Ghana all three points.