NATAL, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Clint Dempsey scored only 32 seconds into the match as the USA took a 1-0 lead over Ghana in the first half of Brazil World Cup Group C here on Monday.
The American captain's goal is the fastest in the tournament till now. In their first attack, Dempsey dribbled into the area from the left side and fired past goalkeeper Kwarasey to the far post. The veteran became the first American player to score at three different World Cup.
The fantastic goal made the American supporters in the Estadio das Dunas on their feet. After the USA's blistering start, Ghana steadied themselves and began to possess the ball and find ways to break down American midfield. However, Howard relieved pressure after a couple of attacks from Ghana.
The Americans also encountered an unexpected problem as their forward Jozy Altidore got injured in the 22th minute. He battled for the ball with Ghana's defender John Boye along the left side before immediately grabbing his left hamstring and falling to the ground. He lied on the pitch in pain and was substituted by Aron Johannsson.
Ghana pressed hard afterwards for an equaliser but hadn't had any luck.
Ghana knocked the Americans out of the last two World Cups with 2-1 victories, beating the Americans in group stage in the 2006 tournament and in extra time during the round of 16 four years ago.
The Black Stars failed in their bid to become the first African semifinalist, losing to Uruguay in a shootout after Luis Suarez used his hands to block what would have been a go-ahead goal in extra time, and Asamoah Gyan sent his penalty kick clanking off the crossbar.