Ghana need to take chances
Ghana's midfield finally matched its billing as one of the best around after the 2-0 shock win over Czech Republic on Saturday, but Reda Maher thinks the Black Stars need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to progress further in the competit
Even before the Czechs had Tomas Ujfalusi sent-off, Ghana had created a plethora of chances a top centre-forward would have tucked away. The Czech's will claim that they were blunted by the absence of first-choice strike duo Milan Baros and Jan Koller, but Ghana never even had that to choose from.
They matched the Czechs possession - despite playing a deep counter-attacking game - and dominated the shooting stats against the second-ranked side in the World. The match could have ended in a drubbing, were it not for a missed penalty, a dozen Petr Cech saves and some wayward finishing.
"It was a very tough game but my players played excellently. I was only surprised it wasn't more than 2-0.
"I think the strikers were sometimes a bit tired in front of goal," added the coach.
The lack of a true centre forward was clearest towards the end of the match, when Ghana's players were repeatedly, frustratingly caught offside after excellent breakaways. Failing to check runs when four-on-two in the way that - for example - Essien and Muntari did towards the end of the match is a sign of nothing more than the naivety that comes with never having really played up front.
It is ironic perhaps that for the best part of the last decade Ghana's star man - Tony Yeboah - was a free-scoring centre-forward whose talent could not be matched by the rest of the squad, yet now they are effectively a team of midfielders. With a Yeboah - or even a Darren Bent or Brian McBride - Ghana could be a real threat at the World Cup.
Czech Republic 0-2 Ghana: re-live the match here!