10-man Australia hold Ghana
RUSTENBURG – Ten-man Australia held on for a 1-1 draw with Ghana at the World Cup yesterday.
Australia, who lost Harry Kewell to a straight red card in the 24th minute, took the lead in the 11th minute.
Forward Brett Holman slotted in a rebound after Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson had saved a free kick from Mark Bresciano.
Kewell, who led Australia’s attack, was sent off for blocking a shot from Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah on the line with his upper arm.
Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan converted the ensuing penalty in the 25th for his second goal – and second penalty – of the tournament.
Ghana nearly went ahead two minutes later when Prince Tagoe’s close-range shot went just wide. Then, just before half-time, forward Kevin-Prince Boateng made a run down the right and sent his shot toward the far post, but Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer tipped the shot behind for a corner.
Ghana, who now lead Group D with four points, continually broke through Australia’s defence and threatened to score, but couldn’t finish.
Earlier, Australia got off to a bright start, with the players looking to rebound from a 4-0 loss to Germany. Coach Pim Verbeek was heavily criticised for fielding a defensive line-up in that match and failing to field a recognised striker.
Australia are last in the group with one point, but Verbeek still believes there’s a chance to advance after Wednesday’s match against Serbia.
“We’re still in the race,” he said. “The boys were fighting for everything, and with everything they had. I can only be proud of the players.”
He said he didn’t see Kewell’s handball, but was told by his players that it didn’t look intentional.
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” he said. “We go on.”
Kewell’s red card against Ghana dulled Australia’s dominance in the opening stages and unleashed wave after wave of attack by Ghana. (AP)Line-upsGhana – Richard Kingson; Hans Sarpei, Lee Addy, Jonathan Mensah, John Pantsil, Kevin-Prince Boateng (Matthew Amoah, 87), Anthony Annan, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah (Sulley Muntari, 77), Prince Tagoe (Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, 56), Asamoah Gyan.
Australia – Mark Schwarzer; David Carney, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire (Nikita Rukavytsya, 85), Mark Bresciano (Scott Chipperfield, 66), Jason Culina, Carl Valeri, Brett Holman (Joshua Kennedy, 68), Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell.