A goal in injury time from the Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan earned the Black Stars of Ghana a draw at Wembley against Fabio Capello’s England.
England had lead through Andy Carroll’s clinical strike in the first half right through until injury time, when a magical piece of skill from the quicksilver Gyan sent England defender Joleon Lescott in a spin, and the 25-year-old forwards brilliant finish sent 20,000 Ghanaian supporters inside Wembley into delirium.
An attractive open match began with England’s attacking play looking fresh and inventive, with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, the Aston Villa duo at the heart.
The movement of both players was causing the Ghana backline problems and they combined, with Downings sublime touch and control teeing up Young, whose curled effort was turned over the bar by Richard Kingson.
The midfield battle between the two trios was extremely intriguing, with Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry – who captained the Three Lions and put in arguably his best performance for both club and country since the World Cup – and James Milner having to battle against the talented Ghanaian threesome of the combative Schalke 04 destroyer Anthony Annan, Sulley Muntari of Sunderland, and the Udinese schemer Kwadwo Asamoah.
Young should have put the Three Lions ahead midway through the half, missing from no more than six yards, with the goal at his mercy.
Once more Downing was the creator, driving inside onto his left foot before playing a terrific reverse pass to free Milner down the right. Milner’s low cross found Young who somehow contrived to hit the crossbar, when it would have surely been easier to roll into the empty net.
Within moments of almost being in front, England were almost behind as Joe Hart was forced into a truly world-class diving stop to deny Dominic Adiyah.
Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana and Sunderland centre-forward, was giving Phil Jagielka a tough time in particular, and showed his willingness to shoot at every available opportunity.
However, with 40 minutes gone England did take the lead with the £35m Liverpool striker Andy Carroll finally breaking the deadlock.
Once more, Young and Downing were the creators, Young’s through ball found the well-timed run of Downing, who laid the ball into the path of Carroll, who slammed a low left foot shot through the legs of Sunderland’s John Mensah and into the corner of the net.
Both sides made changes at the start of the second period, but it did nothing to stem the flow of attacking football on offer, with both sides pressing for the games second goal.
First, Ghana forced a goalmouth scramble which only ended when John Pantsil’s drive was deflected over by Gareth Barry. From the resultant corner, Aidiyah headed a good opportunity wide.
A swift counter-attack from England followed and Milner forced Kingson into an excellent save down to his left.
Mid-way through the second period and Ghana created their best chance of the game, and Sunderland’s Asamoah Gyan should have levelled the scores.
A clever ball through from Asamoah, found Gyan, clean through on goal, coming in from the right. However, the striker who Steve Bruce paid Rennes £13m for in the summer, smashed the ball into the side netting when he should have at least tested the England ‘keeper.
Wolves winger Matt Jarvis came on for his debut before Danny Welbeck, the Manchester United youngster on-loan at Sunderland did likewise, much to the disgust of the 20,000 Ghanaian supporters in attendance- Welbeck had been eligible to play for the Black Stars.
Going into the final five minutes and Gyan was continuing to trouble the England defence, first blocking a Joe Hart clearance, before turning Joleon Lescott inside out, only for the Manchester City defender to bring him down.
Then in injury time Gyan got the goal that his all action performance deserved, skinning Lescott on the edge of the penalty area, before curling a beautiful left-foot shot round several bodies and into Joe Hart’s net.