On this day in 2006 (15 years ago), Ghana won its first World Cup game after defeating Czech Republic 2-0 at the Müngersdorfer Stadion in Cologne.
The Black Stars came into the game hoping to bounce back to winning ways after losing 2-0 to Italy in the first group game, whiles Czech Republic who were then placed 2nd on FIFA ranking were hoping to build on their 3-0 victory against USA in the first group game.
Ghana got off to a fantastic start, Asamoah Gyan opened the scoring after just 70 seconds. He received a fine ball from captain Stephen Appiah, took it under control beautifully on his chest and cracked home a low shot from just inside the penalty area.
The Czechs were having problems getting the influential Tomas Rosicky and Pavel Nedved on the ball, Ghana’s central midfielders of Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien worked their socks off to negate their threat.
In the opening seconds of the second half the Czechs thought they had found a way back into the game when Nedved headed in, but both he and Vratislav Lokvenc were offside before the ball came in.
Drama erupted in the 65th minute when Ujfalusi brought down Mathew Amoah. Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo pointed to the penalty spot, but took an age to show the last Czech defender a red card.
Gyan was shown a yellow card for taking the penalty without the referee’s permission, ruling him out of Ghana’s last group game against the USA, and struck the retake against the left-hand post.
Ghana after missing a number of chances wrapped the game up with the second goal in the 82nd minute, Asamoah Gyan linked well with Sulley Muntari who blasted an unstoppable left-footed drive past Petr Cech from 12 yards.
The Black Stars from then went on to defeat USA 2-1 in the final group game and secure qualification to the knockout round in what was their first appearance at the World Cup. However, their campaign ended in the Round of 16 when they lost to then holders Brazil by 3-0.
For Czech Republic, they lost 2-0 in the final group game to Italy and bowed out of the tournament.
Czech Republic: Cech, Grygera, Rozehnal, Ujfalusi, Jankulovski, Poborsky (Stajner 55), Galasek (Polak 45), Rosicky, Plasil (Sionko 68), Nedved, Lokvenc.
Subs Not Used: Mares, Kovac, Jiranek, Jarolim, Blazek, Heinz, Kinsky, Koller, Baros.
Sent Off: Ujfalusi (66).
Ghana: Kingston, Pantsil, Mensah, Mohamed, Shilla, Essien, Appiah, Muntari, Otto Addo (Boateng 45), Gyan (Pimpong 85), Amoah (Eric Addo 80).
Subs Not Used: Adjei, Sarpei, Kuffour, Pappoe, Tachie-Mensah, Owu, Quaye, Ahmed, Dramani.
Booked: Otto Addo, Essien, Gyan, Boateng, Muntari.
Goals: Gyan 2, Muntari 82.
Referee: Horacio Marcelo Elizondo (Argentina).
Fifa man of the match: Michael Essien