Andy Carroll must have thought he’d won the match with his first international goal
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Gallery – Tuesday’s international football
A clinically taken first-half strike from Andy Carroll was cancelled out by Asamoah Gyan’s wonderful individual effort as England and Ghana shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 friendly draw at Wembley.
Carroll fired home from 12 yards after Stewart Downing’s questionable control shortly before half-time to score what looked like being the only goal of the game, in a contest where both sides had their fair share of opportunities.
But Gyan showed resilience and determination to find an equaliser in the first minute of injury time, dribbling with the ball around the edge of the area before bursting into the box and finding enough room to curl his shot beyond Joe Hart and into the back of the net.
With an estimated 20,000 Ghana supporters in the ground, the atmosphere around Wembley was loud even before kick-off – and both teams seemed to respond with some enthusiastic attacking forays.
Ghana enjoyed the majority of the early skirmishes, but England missed the best chance of the first half – Ashley Young somehow crashing his shot against the bar from five yards out after Stewart Downing’s clever play had released James Milner into a position to cut the ball across.
The visitors nearly took advantage of that miss, with Hart forced into an acrobatic save to deny Dominic Adiyiah’s header from Sulley Muntari’s pinpoint freekick, not long after Gyan had also squandered a decent opening.
Eventually, however, it was England who made the breakthrough.Carroll, who had been virtually anonymous until that point, profited from Downing’s mis-control inside the box as the ball bobbled perfectly into his path.Despite the attentions of John Mensah, the Liverpool forward rifled his left-foot shot first time between the Sunderland defender’s legs and inside the far post to open his account at international level.
Ghana emerged for the second half with a renewed vigour, instantly threatening Hart in the England goal.John Pantsil was unlucky to see his shot deflect wickedly off a defender and onto the roof of the net, with Johnathan Mensah then failing to adequately direct a great headed opportunity from the resultant corner.
Milner then had Kingson at full stretch with a well-hit 20-yard effort that was turned around the post, before Gyan wasted one of the best chances of the game – firing wildly into the side-netting from five yards after breaking clear of the offside trap.
As the game progressed towards a conclusion both sides made changes – Matthew Jarvis was given an international debut, after Defoe had already replaced Carroll, while Andre Ayew injected some pace in place of Muntari – and things also become a bit heated.Ayew and Milner were both booked for ugly late challenges, after Baines was lucky to avoid punishment earlier in the match for a similar offence.
Asamoah Gyan belatedly found the back of the net
Danny Welbeck – son of Ghanaian parents – was then booed by sections of the crowd as he was handed his Three Lions debut.But minutes later those same fans were nearly given something to cheer as Gyan charged down Hart’s clearance, but fortunately for the Manchester City ‘keeper the ball sailed harmlessly over the bar.
In the 91st minute, however, Gyan would get a just reward for his endeavours all evening, while also making up for some of his wasteful finishing.Seemingly being shepherded away from danger outside the box, the Sunderland forward suddenly burst into the area, cut onto his left side and found a gap between Hart and his far post to equalise with just two minutes remaining.
The Ghanaian crowd were unsurprisingly sent in to raptures, and when the final whistle blew both sides could be proud of their part in an open and eventful international friendly.
Elsewhere, the Republic of Ireland tasted defeat in their own friendly against Ghana’s World Cup vanquishers, Uruguay.
Uncompromising central defender Diego Lugano opened the scoring for the visitors in Dublin, before Shane Long equalised three minutes later from close range.
Serie A duo Edinson Cavani and Abel Hernandez then gave the South Americans a two-goal cushion before the break, after finding some time and space inside the opposition box.
Kevin Fahey scored shortly after half-time from the penalty spot after a Martin Caceres foul to halve the deficit, but Ireland were unable to find another goal over the remainder of the match as they eventually succumbed to a far-from-embarrassing defeat to the World Cup semi-finalists.