Ghana coach Grant keen to avoid quarter-final penalties

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Ghana coach Avram Grant has bad memories of penalties and would like to avoid an African Nations Cup shootout in Sunday’s quarter-final against Guinea. The Israeli was on the losing side when his Chelsea team were beaten by Manchester United on penalties at the end of the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.

It was a defeat that cost Grant his job at Stamford Bridge and led him on an unusual path through Portsmouth, West Ham United and on to coaching jobs in Serbia and Thailand. “We need to prepare ourselves for everything,” he told a news conference on Saturday.

“I don’t want to look into the past, I have some experience of penalties.” Grant took over at Ghana just weeks before the Nations Cup started and said he was delighted with his squad’s approach and the standard of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea. “In my team there is a lot of passion, a lot of people around the team ready to do their best for the team,” he explained. “There is a lot of talent here, the quality of the players is good and so is the quality of the games.

There have been many, many good games.” Ghana were last in Group C until 20 minutes from time in their final match on Tuesday before a dramatic surge saw them score twice to beat South Africa 2-1 and finish top.

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