World Cup Group H: Kudus’ brace lifts Ghana to wild victory over South Korea

Mohammed Kudus Ghana World Cup South Korea
Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal during the World Cup group H soccer match between South Korea and Ghana, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Mohammed Kudus’ second goal of the day in the 68th minute lifted Ghana to a wild victory over South Korea 3-2 on Monday from Education City, providing the second-largest upset at the 2022 World Cup behind Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina last week. 

Ghana, ranked 61st by FIFA heading into the tournament, shot out to a 2-0 first-half lead before 28th-ranked South Korea pulled it back in quick succession through a pair of goals in three minutes from Cho Guesung. 

The victory temporarily draws the Black Stars level with Portugal atop Group H, though the latter will face off in a marquee meeting with Uruguay later on Monday.

Out of nothing, the African nation took the lead in the 25th minute off a free kick that went well against the run of play. South Korea bossed roughly 70% of possession and spent the first 20 minutes or so largely in the Ghanaian third of the pitch. 

But a free kick to Ghana saw South Korea set up in a peculiarly deep back line which invites more pressure on the goalkeeper — increasing the likelihood of withholding him from coming out and clearing his lines. 

Jordan Ayew’s ball into the box was perfect as South Korean keeper Kim Seunggyu was rooted to his spot as the pass was deflected down to the feet of Mohammed Salisu, who finished in the middle of traffic to give Ghana the unlikely lead. 

Roughly nine minutes later, another cross from Ayew similar to where his free kick was near the left touchline of the outskirts of the South Korean third helped Ghana double its lead. A curling ball to the far post was glanced in by Kudus in the 34th minute to put the African nation in the driver’s seat.

Ghana keeper Lawrence Ati Zigi came up with an athletic, leaping save to keep South Korea off the board in the 53rd minute when a powerful Cho header looked destined for the top-left corner of the goal. It was South Korea’s first shot on target at the 2022 World Cup.

Cho got his revenge five minutes later in the 58th minute when he got on the end of a Lee Kangin cross and managed to wrap his head around it to send a bouncing shot through the arms of Ati Zigi. 

Just three minutes later, Cho rose up once again to level the Koreans and turn the match on its head, flying between two Ghanaian defenders to get on the end of a Kim Jinsu cross from the left and cannon the equalizer home. 

South Korean joy would be short-lived, however, as Ghana found another go-ahead tally through Kudus in the 68th minute. Through the vision of Ayew to play Ghana down the left, a cross from Gideon Mensah was whiffed by an open Inaki Williams in the center of the box, but it came to Kudus at the right post to finish it.

Once again, South Korea pushed to find an equalizer and should have in the latter stages. Ati Zigi did well to push a free kick over the bar in the 75th minute before Salisu cleared a Kim Jinsu shot off the line after the forward got open at the left post. 

Kim Jinsu proceeded to miss two more chances in the 84th and 86th minutes before Ati Zigi was called into action two more times in stoppage time to preserve a massive three points for Ghana. 

For more on Ghana, South Korea, and the World Cup, visit AMNY.com

More from around NYC