Mohammed Kudus shone on the big stage, leading the Black Stars to a 3-2 victory over South Korea in a tense match at the Education City Stadium on Monday.
The Ajax midfielder scored in both halves as the Black Stars claimed their first World Cup victory since defeating the United States in Johannesburg in 2010.
The four-time African champions survived an early South Korean onslaught and scored two goals in 10 minutes through Mohammed Salisu and Kudus, with Jordan Ayew brilliantly involved in both goals, to end the first half with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
However, the Koreans tied the game early in the second half with two quick goals. Cho Gue-Sung scored twice with brilliant headers before Kudus scored in the 68th minute, securing an important win for the Black Stars, who will qualify for the knockout stages with a win against Uruguay on December 2.
South Korea started well, pinning Ghana back and winning seven corners in the first 17 minutes, but their lack of creativity was exposed when Salisu knocked in a rebound after Jordan Ayew’s free-kick was not dealt with by the South Korean defence.
The goal sparked Otto Addo’s side into life, and they quickly took control, doubling their lead 10 minutes later when Ayew’s inviting cross was nodded in from six yards by the impressive Kudus.
South Korea struggled in the final third in the first half but came alive after the break, with Ati-Zigi forced into a fantastic reaction save on Cho from close range as a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Kang-In Lee made an immediate impact off the bench, winning the ball on the left wing and swinging in a cross for Cho to head home, and three minutes later the striker had his second, nodding in a hanging Jin-Su Kim cross from three yards out to level the game.
However, Ghana quickly regained the lead. Inaki Williams missed a cut-back with an air-shot inside the box, but the ball fell to Kudus behind him, who slotted home the third goal of an incredible 10-minute period.
South Korea piled on the pressure in ten minutes of added time, but they couldn’t break through the Black Stars’ defence, with another good Ati-Zigi save and a goal-line clearance helping them cross the finish line.