Portugal v Ghana – Ghanaians Mean GoalsStats
Portugal v Ghana
Portugal face Ghana on Thursday with both their World Cup dreams hanging by a thread after failing to pick up a win in any of their games to date.
A goal in the fifth minute of injury time from Gustavo Varela saved Portugal the ignimony of two straight defeats as they salvaged a draw from the clutches of defeat against the United States in yet another thrilling tie that this served up over in Brazil over the past fortnight.
Nani had given the Portuguese an early lead in the game with a close range finish to the roof of the net which they held until well into the second half as the States mounted a stirring late comeback.
First Jermain Jones struck a brilliant equaliser which arrowed into the corner from outside the box in the 64th minute before Clint Dempsey’s bundled finish nine minutes from full-time seemed to have put his side through to the last 16 but Varela’s late show changed all that.
Paulo Bento’s side remain outsiders to qualify for the latter stages though as their goal difference of -4 after a crushing 4-0 defeat to Germany in their first game means they need to make up a five goal swing on Jurgen Klinsmann’s side even so they will have to go for the jugular against the Ghanaians to have any hope of progress.
Ghana were also involved in a pulsating 2-2 draw last time out against an in-form Germany with all the goals coming in an absolutely fantastic second half of football. Mario Gotze had given the three time champions the lead early in the second half before Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan struck within ten minutes of each other to give the Black Stars hope of a famous victory.
Miroslav Klose then came off the bench to level matters almost straight away and equalled the record for goals in World Cup finals games with Brazilian legend Ronaldo on 15 and keep the Germans on top of the group. A late James Brooks header for the USA resulted in Ghana losing their opening game despite being the better team for the majority of the contest.
Ayew had again got a deserved equaliser for his side in that game after Dempsey had opened the scoring after only a minute and so the African’s will need a win here if they are to reach the latter stage, and even that may not be enough.
Rui Patricio, Hugo Almeida and Fabio Coentrao are all missing for Portugal with the latter out for the remainder of the tournament. Centre-back Pepe is back from suspension following his sending off against Germany but his manager may not want to place his faith in such a volatile player.
The Ghanaians have no fresh injury worries or suspensions although Michael Essien is still carrying a knock and could miss out.
Head To Head
This will be the first meeting between these teams in international football.
There’s little between the sides in the match betting market with Portugal favourites at 11/8 while their opponents are 2/1. That seems quite a big price on Ghana to me as they have been the far more impressive of these two sides against the other teams in this group and they should be more focused as there chances of reaching the knock out rounds are far better.
With both needing goals the 6/4 on Over 3.5 being scored could prove good value, while Ayew is the pick to score anytime at 9/4.