Pantsil marches on with Ghana

John Pantsil turned in an energetic display on Sunday night to help ten-man Ghana through to the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

The West Ham United right-back, an ever-present during the group stage, gave his best performance of the finals to date to help the host nation set up a semi-final date next Thursday. Ghana will meet either Tunisia or Cameroon in the last four, depending on the result between those two nations on Monday night.

Ghana had fallen behind on 34 minutes when Everton striker Yakubu converted a penalty but were able to draw level just before the interval with a neat header by Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien. It looked like it would not be the Black Stars' night though when Ghana captain John Mensah was sent off on the hour but, with Pantsil more than playing his part, they fought back to nick it via Junior Agogo's late close-range finish.

The final whistle sparked mass celebrations in the Ghanaian capital Accra, with Paintsil, whose precision pass forward had led to the spell of pressure that produced the host nation's winner, leading the way. Despite the exertions of the previous 90 minutes, he ran around the Ohene Djan Stadium waving his country's flag with pride. The 26-year-old, who even found time to indulge in some showboating skills to help kill time in the closing stages, has said he expects Ghana to reach the final next Sunday.