Goal hero Boateng faces race against time

RUSTENBURG - Ghana goal hero Kevin-Prince Boateng faces a week of intensive therapy in a bid to get fit for the World Cup quarter-final after suffering a hamstring injury.

Boateng scored a fifth minute goal on Saturday to set his side on the way to a 2-1 win over the United States in their second round match in Rustenburg but later limped off in the second half.

Coach Milovan Rajevac said the Germany-born midfielder would face intensive treatment in a bid to be ready for the match against Uruguay at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Friday.

Boateng was among several Ghana players limping after the exertions of the extra time triumph over the Americans at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

"Boateng was injured against Germany already. It is going to be a huge problem to get him ready for the next game," said Rajevac following the record-equalling performance by Ghana, only the third African country to reach the last eight of the World Cup.

NIGGLING INJURIES

Rajevac said there were also other players with niggling injuries. Dede Ayew will also miss the match through suspension after picking a second caution of the tournament.

"We are going to see how the players react in the next days. For me the priority now will be to try and get them all ready for Friday. There is a lot of work ahead for the medical staff."

The Serbian-born coach praised the efforts of his players who he said had learnt how to compete.

"We played in the African Nations Cup this year without eight important players and managed to reach the final. The team learnt how to compete. The most important thing at this level is to know how to compete," he said.

"Each victory counts and this is very dear. Ghana is now among the best eight teams in the world. This is fantastic," he added, keeping a stoical face at the post-match news conference but then breaking into a broad smile once it was over.

Ghana are the only African side left at the World Cup and for a second successive tournament the only team from the continent to get past the first round.

"I think we can claim to be the best team in Africa now if you consider that, plus the fact we reached the Nations Cup final," added captain John Mensah.

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