JOHANNESBURG - Ghana defender John Pantsil
choked back tears as he bemoaned a decision to award a
last-minute penalty instead of a goal which would have seen the
Africans qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup on Friday.
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez handled the ball on the line in
the dying seconds of the quarter-final, denying Ghana a goal
while both teams were tied at 1-1.
Striker Gyan Asamoah blasted the ball against the bar and
over, sending the match to a penalty shootout which Uruguay won
"In the last minute we got a goal but the referee disallowed
it," Pantsil told reporters, the emotion straining his voice.
"Instead of him giving the goal he whistled for a penalty. It
was not a penalty, it was a goal because he (Suarez) was the last
man in the goalline and he saved the ball with the hands."
Pantsil said there would be no blame laid on striker Asamoah
for the missed penalty.
"We have been talking to him about it. Obviously he is
feeling very bad and it is not easy to forget it," Pantsil said.
"As a team mate, we have to keep him with us, talk to him
about it so that he can forget it as soon as possible.
"It is penalty, anyone can miss it. It is part of football.
It is not a mistake, it is not a mistake at all. He kicked it
from his heart. We all wanted to win the game but, yeah, we will
pick it from there."
Goalkeeper Richard Kingson said there would be no repeat of
the backlash from fans in Ghana against Asamoah like that which
occurred following a poor showing at the African Cup of Nations
at home in 2008.
"No, there will be nothing like that," Kingson said. "I had a
message from my wife. She said everybody is happy now. We did our
best and everybody is cheering him."
Ghana's Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac congratulated Uruguay
but made clear his feelings on the last-second drama.
"It was sporting injustice," he muttered at the end of his
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