World-Essien sparkles as Ghana brush aside South Korea

Updated: June 4, 2006, 2:31 PM ET
Reuters

EDINBURGH, June 4 - Goals from Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien steered Ghana to a 3-1 victory over fellow World Cup finalists South Korea on Sunday.

South Korea, at almost full strength compared to the reserve side that drew 0-0 with Norway on Thursday, went behind in the 35th minute when Gyan converted a penalty after Kim Jin-kyu handled in the box.

The night became worse for the young Korean defender when he went off injured early in the second half.

Midfielder Lee Eul-yong equalised four minutes after the break with a stunning 30-yard effort for the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists.

But Chelsea midfielder Essien's power was too much for Korea's lightweight trio of Lee, Park Ji-sung and Lee Ho and it was from his cross that Muntari nodded Ghana back in front in the 62nd minute.

Essien made it 3-1 with a simple finish in the 81st minute.

Ghana begin their World Cup campaign against Group E rivals Italy in Hanover on June 12.

The Koreans launch their challenge against Group G opponents Togo in Frankfurt on June 13.

(Reporting by Peter Rutherford in Leverkusen)

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index