Australia have been treated harshly again, being reduced to ten men in their 1-1 draw with Ghana.
For the second match in a row, the Australians had a key player sent off when Harry Kewell was given his marching orders for handling the ball in the area but they managed to hold on for 65 minutes with a man down and grab a point after going ahead early.
Ghana: 1 (Asamoah Gyan (p) 25’)
Australia: 1 (Brett Holman 11’)
Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium - Rustenburg
Referee: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)
Yellow cards: GHA - Lee Addy 40’, Jonathan Mensah 79’, Anthony Annan 84’
AUS - Craig Moore 86’
Red cards: AUS - Harry Kewell 24’
The Australians started positively by pushing numbers forward and making their intent clear and it came to fruition when Carl Valeri won a free-kick outside the area in the 11th minute. Mark Bresciano, who was included in the starting line-up from the Germany game, whipped in the dead ball from outside the area which was not handled well by Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson and Brett Holman was on hand to finish neatly from the rebound.
Ghana responded well by pressing forward and putting the Australian defence under pressure and they got their goalscoring chance when Jonathan Mensah shot goalward and the ball cannoned into Harry Kewell who was standing on the goal line. Referee Roberto Rosetti adjudged Kewell to have intentionally handballed, producing a controversial red card and awarding a penalty to the Ghanaians.
Asamoah Gyan, for the second match in a row, stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, sending Mark Schwarzer the wrong way making it 1-1.
Towards the end of the first 45 minutes, Ghana were attempting to hit the lead with plenty of shots on goal but were thwarted in their attempts and the opening term ended all square.
Ghana were unlucky not go ahead 2-1 in the 50th minute when Gyan struck a curling shot on target but Schwarzer was equal to the task and kept his side in with a chance.
In the 66th minute, Australia had a perfect opportunity to regain the lead when Luke Wilkshire sent in a dangerous cross from the right flank which found substitute Scott Chipperfield in the air but his free header went well over the mark in a huge let-off for the Africans.
Just over five minutes later, another missed chance for the Australians came when Wilkshire found space in the area but his low shot was knocked away by Kingson only for substitute Josh Kennedy to turn his follow up into the turf and into the hands of the thankful Ghanaian stopper.
The Socceroos were coming hard at Ghana but could make any inroads in the final ten minutes as the African nation jumped to the top of Group D whilst Australia remained at the foot of the group.
Richard Kingson (gk), Hans Sarpei, Asamoah Gyan, John Panstil, Anthony Annan, Jonathan Mensah, Prince Tagoe (Owusu-Abeyie 56’), Andre Ayew, Lee Addy, Kwadwo Asamoah (Muntari 77’), Kevin Prince-Boateng (Amoah 87’)
Subs - Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (56’), Sulley Muntari (77’), Matthew Amoah (87’)
Mark Schwarzer (gk), Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Luke Wilkshire (Rukavytsya 84’), Harry Kewell, Brett Holman (Kennedy 68’), Carl Valeri, David Carney, Mark Bresciano (Chipperfield 66’)