Soccer : Ten-man Australia Frustrate Ghana

Rustenburg (South Africa), June 19 (DPA) Ghana missed the chance to take full control of Group D Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Australia in the football World Cup here.

Australia took an 11th-minute lead through Brett Holman, but Man of the Match Asamoah Gyan levelled from the penalty spot in the 25th minute after Harry Kewell had handled on the line.

The Galatasaray forward was sent off for the offence.

The draw leaves Ghana on top of the group on four points, with Germany and Serbia on three and Australia on one.

Whether it is the controversial Jabulani ball, the altitude or simple incompetence, this has been a World Cup characterised by goalkeeping errors, and Ghana's Richard Kingson added his name to the list of shame Saturday.

Australia had begun the better without really threatening, but they were gifted the lead after 11 minutes.

Kingson realised too late his positioning for Mark Bresciano's free-kick was poor and tried, rather than attempting to hold it, to shovel the ball away.

He succeeded only in pushing it to Holman, who forced the ball in via Kingson's despairing hand.

Subdued until then, Ghana responded. Andre Ayew, cutting in form the right had a shot deflected just over, and it was his cross midway through the first half that brought the equaliser.

Ghana might have had a penalty as Lucas Neill seemed to push Gyan, but the ball fell for Jonathan Mensah, whose shot struck the upper arm of Kewell on the line.

He protested furiously, and urged referee Roberto Rosetti to check the replay on the big screen, but the ball clearly hit his bicep, and his only defence could have been that the offence wasn't deliberate.

The Italian official remained unmoved, and Gyan rolled in from the spot - his third penalty goal in two World Cups.

It took Ghana time to seize the initiative, but by half-time they were well in control, and it took a fine save low to his right form Mark Schwarzer to keep out a drive from Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Gyan had a clipped shot well saved by Schwarzer down to his right, but with Ghana struggling to make headway, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie was introduced for Prince Tagoe 11 minutes into the second half.

Ghana, though, seemed to run out of ideas, misplacing or irrationally delaying passes, overhitting crosses, repeatedly making the wrong decision and relying to far too great an extent on speculative long-range shooting.

When Gyan was finally released by Boateng, his poked effort flashed well wide.

As Ghana became increasingly ragged in search of a winner, it was Australia who came closest to finding a winner, Scott Chipperfield heading just over from a Luke Wilkshire cross, before Wilkshire was denied by a fine block from Kingson.

And then, in the final minute, Jonathan Mensah, climbing to meet a left-wing free-kick at the back post, headed just over.

For Ghana, though, a glorious opportunity was gone, and their day took a turn for the worse when defender John Pantsil was taken off with a head wound.

They are already without injured centre-backs Isaac Vorsah and John Mensah.

Ghana need a draw from their final game against Germany in Soccer City Wednesday to secure their passage to the last 16, while Australia must beat Serbia in Nelspruit and hope the other result goes their way.


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Title: Soccer : Ten-man Australia Frustrate Ghana

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