Late goal lifts US over Ghana in World Cup

United States' Clint Dempsey, left, celebrates scoring the opening goal past Ghana's goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, right, during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
United States' Clint Dempsey, left, celebrates scoring the opening goal past Ghana's goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, right, during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

NATAL, Brazil (AP) — Clint Dempsey scored one of fastest goals in World Cup history and John Brooks scored the game winner on a header in the 86th minute of a 2-1 U.S. victory over Ghana, which had knocked the Americans out of the previous two World Cups.

Dempsey’s goal came on a low shot just 32 seconds into the match. The lead held until Ghana’s Andre Ayew leveled in the 82nd minute. Ayew’s goal appeared to have stolen the victory from the U.S., until Brooks’ goal off a corner from Graham Zusi.

Dempsey’ goal made him the first U.S. player to score in three different World Cups and was the fastest ever scored by an American in the tournament. The US is now tied with Germany atop of Group G.

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Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal by an American in World Cup history and the sixth-quickest ever, putting the United States ahead after 32 seconds of its opener against Ghana on Monday night.

DaMarcus Beasley, the first American to play in four World Cups, exchanged the ball with Dempsey on a throw-in on the left flank. Dempsey passed the ball to Jermaine Jones, who sent it on to Dempsey.

The U.S. captain played the ball from his left foot to his right, cut around John Boye and inside of Sulley Muntari, then beat goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey with a left-footed shot from 8 yards that went in off the far post. The quick goal set off raucous cheers from the red, white and blue-clad American fans at the other end of Arena das Dunas, who had just drowned out the recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Dempsey became the first American to score in three World Cups. Then a midfielder, Dempsey had goals in the 2-1 loss to Ghana in 2006 and the opening 1-1 tie against England four years ago. He became the first American forward to score at a World Cup since Brian McBride against Mexico in 2002.

The only faster goals at a World Cup were by Turkey’s Hakan Suker (11 seconds against South Korea in 2002), Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Masek (16 seconds against Mexico in 1962), Germany’s Ernst Lehner (25 seconds against Austria in 1934), England’s Bryan Robson (27 seconds against France in 1982) and France’s Bernard Lacombe (31 seconds against Italy in 1978).

The U.S. held a lead for less than three minutes at the 2010 World Cup, after Landon Donovan’s stoppage-time goal against Algeria, which propelled the Americans to the knockout rounds.

Dempsey finished the first half with a bloody nose after a kick to the face from Boye in a battle for a header in the 33rd minute. Dempsey returned to the field three minutes later and appeared to be playing with tissue in his nose to stop the bleeding.

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