Ghana fail to capitalise on 10-man Australia
A 1-1 draw for Ghana against the Socceroos in Rustenburg means it is all to play for in Group D with no team yet sure of qualification.
Ghana missed the chance to win a place in the second round of the World Cup when they failed to beat an Australian team down to 10 men after the sending off of former Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell. They Black Stars were held to a 1-1 draw.
The match was evenly balanced in the first 10 minutes with Australia showing great determination after a 4-0 humiliation to Germany in their opening game.
The Australians opened the scoring in the 11th minute after Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Kingson failed to hold a Bresciano free-kick and allowed Holman to score from close range.
The goal galvanised the Australians who worked ruggedly, but Ghana’s greater class began to show and the Black Stars started to dominate the play with some crisp passing.
Ghana’s ascendancy was gifted with a penalty when Harry Kewell handled the ball in a desperate attempt to clear a shot off the line. Asamoah Gyan sent Mark Schwazer the wrong way and Ghana were level after 23 minutes.
Down to 10 men, the Socceroos resorted to mass defence and Ghana for all their possession were unable to break down the Aussies as Andre Ayew, Asamoah Gyan and Kevin Prince Boateng constantly probed their defence to no avail.
The second half saw Ghana make several changes with Quincy Owusu Abeyie coming on for the ineffective Prince Tagoe, upping the tempo with his powerful runs around the Australian box.
Australia came close to causing an upset in the 65th minute when Chipperfield headed the ball over with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
Two minutes later Ghana could have been on the score sheet themselves when Gyan’s flashing cross was missed by Asamoah inches from the goal line.
Ghana’s coach Radevac brought on the out-of-favour Sulley Muntari for Asamoah and the experienced Ghanaian sought to make his presence felt with some long-range passing. But Australia’s back four held fast.
Jonathan Mensah’s last minute header sailed over the bar and Australia were grateful to hold on for a point.
The result still leaves the group wide open. Despite being on four points, Ghana are still not safe and a loss against Germany in their final group game on Wednesday could see Serbia creep through ahead of them. Australia still have a mathematical chance but would need a hatful of goals against Serbia and hope that results in the match between Ghana and Serbia went Germany’s way.