The match led to tears. For each Uruguay and Ghana. Within the stands, on the sphere, tears gushed forth like a torrent onto the sands of Al Janoub. As the sport ended, with Uruguay profitable 2-0, however knocked out of the knockouts by South Korea beating Portugal, Luis Suarez sobbed inconsolably within the dugout. When the cameras zoomed inexorably onto his face, he pulled his tear-drenched shirt over it. He glanced sideways, a few of his teammates had been barging into the referee and his crew of assistants, for a nook that would have been, a penalty that would have been too. However these had been simply passing distractions from the person who was at all times going to be the protagonist of the match, Suarez.
Simply half-hour earlier than the sport ended, Suarez was an album of pleasure, chatting along with his teammates within the dugout, enjoying round with the help workers, content material after 64 minutes of enjoying his finest soccer of this World Cup. The Ghana recreation was maybe the change that flicked one of the best out of Suarez. Gradual and sloppy, invisible and inert till this recreation, he rediscovered his classic, maybe the 2010 classic. He was a reworked man, sliding into tackles, chasing the ball wildly, shoving and shovelling previous defenders. There was a stunning nutmeg close to the byline. The marker Inaki Williams was simply a few yards away, however he embarrassed him with the cheekiest of nutmegs.
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However earlier than you come to Suarez, it’s best to pause for Andrew Ayew. When he lined up for the penalty, he had the entire weight of Ghana’s footballing historical past on his left foot. He hopped, stopped and swished on the ball. The ball tipped off the sting of his boot and rolled meekly into the protected palms of Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rocher. Ayew stood thunderstruck.
He hung his head in disgrace and plunged into the bottom in sluggish movement. Ghana’s first shot at liberation led to tears. And of all of the individuals Ayew, one of many few remaining members of the 2010 ‘Hand of the Satan” fixture, watching all of the drama unfold from the dugout as an unused substitute. He, like Asamoah Gyan, his idol who missed the spot kick from Suarez’s handball, would have a lifetime to remorse the slip-up.
Ghana froze — within the silence among the many Ghanian followers, you can hear the wilt of a thousand hearts. The vocal supporters, in a riot of color, singing and dancing till that second, stood numbed. The gamers wilted, the wandered aimlessly. Till this second, Suraez was tenting of their heads. However from this second, he was to torment them on the sphere too. Of all of the merciless scripts, this was the one Ghanians feared the worst. To be spooked by Suarez. To be spooked endlessly by Suarez. For generations, or maybe for an eternity.
Submit the spilled penalty, they unravelled. Seizing the second of Ghanian daze, the bleach-haired Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice within the house of six minutes. Each targets originated from outrageously clumsy defending (was it even defending?). The ball from deep, pierced by way of two defenders, every presuming that the opposite would clear the ball. Suarez revved up by way of the left, bent in sharply and unpacked a stinging shot on aim.
The saving grace was that Suarez didn’t rating, as an alternative goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi blocked it. However Arrascaeta pounced onto the rebound and nudged the ball into the online with the flap of his head. Six minutes later, Suarez-Arrascaeta mixed once more. Suarez floated the ball to Arrascaeta, an excellent lob. The latter swung the volley house. It was a aim of pure technical perfection, from Suarez’s lob, candy and opulent, designed in an artist’s palette. The execution befitted the help. Because the ball dropped, so did the physique of Arrascaeta, and simply earlier than it kissed the bottom, he twisted his physique and struck it on the complete. The ball first swung away earlier than it modified its path and whistled previous Ati-Zigi, unable to guage the trail of the ball.
To worsen their ache and agony, Suarez would have fun wildly beside the touchline. After the second aim, he veered in the direction of the Ghanian part of followers and clapped, flicked thumbs up and gesticulated to boo him louder.
On the stroke of the sixty fourth minute, Suarez was taken off, to resounding applause from the Uruguayan enclosure and muffled silence from the Ghanian facet. However even in his absence Suarez nonetheless loomed on the pitch, as if the Ghanian gamers had been seeing him in all places. They appeared to be working round a maze with out an exit.
The temper at the beginning was contrasting. A screech of boos greeted Luis Suarez onto the bottom. Ever the pantomime villain he’s, he bared his enamel and smiled. When the boos reached a crescendo, he blew kisses their approach, fuelling extra angst and whipping up extra reminiscences of the heartbreaking evening in Johannesburg. Ghanians by no means forgave him for what Suarez then claimed was the “new hand of God second” or as Ghanian journalist put it the opposite day, the “Hand of Satan”.
Even when that they had forgiven him, Suarez made certain that he whipped up the outdated, bitter reminiscences. He began the match, wore the captain’s armband and took the primary contact of the ball. He is likely to be within the autumnal fade of his profession, however the impishness, the pantomime-ness has remained intact.
In the long run, the prayers of the Ghanians had been answered. They noticed Suarez cry, however not in the way in which that they had prayed or wished for. They had been crying too. Had Ghana gained or drawn the sport, they’d have certified to the final 16. However maybe, within the similitude of their destiny, Ghana may have discovered peace with Suarez and Uruguay. Or granted him forgiveness eventually.