Australia produce a gutsy 1-1 draw with Ghana against the odds

Australia has pulled off a courageous 1-1 draw against Ghana after the Socceroos were reduced to ten men just 25 minutes into the first-half in their second round Group D match of the 2010 World Cup at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg on Sunday.

An early Australian goal to Brett Holman was cancelled out at the 25 minute mark of the match when Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan scored from the penalty spot after Australia’s Harry Kewell was adjudged to have handled the ball on the goal line and was red carded by the referee.

The Socceroos played a tremendous match under much adversity and the character of the Aussies came to the fore as they played more than an hour with only ten men.

Nothing went right for Australia and some of the refereeing decisions were questionable to say the least.

The Kewell send off was debatable but once the referee decided it was a penalty then it was going to be a red card to the Australian striker.

Ghana now have 4 points in Group D with Serbia and Germany 3 points each, while Australia have just one point from their two games.

Australia can still mathematically make the next round with a good win over Serbia and if either Germany or Ghana beat each other with the right score line.

First Half
Australia started brightly and Kewell was certainly a presence up front for the Aussies and the rest of the team lifted around him.

A Bresciano free kick to Australia at the 11th minute smashed into the Ghana keeper and rebounded straight to Brett Holman to put the ball into the back of the net and a 1-0 lead to Australia.

The match could not have started any better for Australia but the Ghanians started to pressure the Socceroos a bit more and fate was about to intervene that would change the course of the game for Australia.

An innocuous bit of play down the right for Ghana saw Ayew play the ball across the front of the Australia goal where Mensah cannoned his shot into Harry Kewell who had his eyes closed and the ball struck him at the top of his right arm as he stood on the goal line.

The referee immediately red carded Kewell and awarded a penalty to reduce Australia to ten men and a they had a mountain to climb.

Gyan slotted home the penalty to the right of Schwarzer and Ghana had levelled the scores.

The game completely changed after Kewell’s send off and Ghana’s Lee Addy should have received a red card a few minutes later for a very late tackle from behind, but the referee in his wisdom decided on yellow.

Tim Cahill will feel most aggrieved for the red card he received against Germany after Addy only got a yellow for a tackle much worse.

Half-time the score was one goal apiece and Australia to be commended for their efforts.

First half rating (Out of 5): Australia 3.5 – Ghana 3.0

Second Half
Ghana came out running in the second half and they controlled the game for a while without putting any pressure on the score line.

Australia utilised a compact defence which forced Ghana to shoot from distance and most of their chances caused little concern to Australia.

Chipperfield and Kennedy came on for Australia in the second half and added a bit of spark for the Socceroos.

Wilkshire had a golden opportunity to win the game for Australia when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper and was unable to take the chance.

With ten men on the pitch, the Aussies weren’t going to get too many chances and Wilkshire had the best chance for the half.

A late strike by Owusu-Abeyie forced a top save by Schwarzer and time ran out for a very gallant Australian side who performed exceptionally well under the circumstances.

Second Half rating (Out of 5): Australia 3.5 – 3.0 Ghana

Final Score

Australia 1 – 1 Ghana

11m Brett Holman (Aus)
25m Asamoah Gyan (Gha)

25m H. Kewell
40m L. Addy
79m J. Mensah
84m A. Annan
85m C. Moore

Australia Starting 11
Mark Schwarzer, Luke Wilkshire, Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, David Carney, Jason Culina, Carl Valeri, Brett Emerton, Brett Holman, Mark Bresciano, Harry Kewell

66m Scott Chipperfield for Mark Bresciano
68m Joshua Kennedy for Brett Holman
84m Nikita Rukavytsya for Luke Wilkshire

Ghana Starting 11
Richard Kingson, John Pantsil, Jonathan Mensah, Lee Addy, Hans Sarpei, Anthony Annan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah, Prince Tagoe, Asamoah Gyan, André Ayew

56m Quincy Owusu-Abeyie for Prince Tagoe
77m Sulley Ali Muntari for Kwadwo Asamoah
88m Matthew Amoah for Kevin-Prince Boateng

Team Game Rating (out of 10): Australia 7.0 – 6.0 Ghana

Match Thoughts

Australia were truly magnificent against all the odds and this writer is extremely proud of their herculean effort after playing more than an hour with ten men and still managing to grab a draw.

Luck has deserted the Aussies in their first two games and the soccer Gods certainly have an issue with Australia at the moment and maybe they will be more in favour and hand the AUssies a 2 or 3 goal win over Serbia in their next match.

The Socceroos played with great heart and are still in the tournament, however unlikely it may be for them to get through to the next stage.

Ghana missed an opportunity to grab 6 points from two games with Australia reduced to ten men early in the game.

The African team never counted on the determination of a ten man Australian team and were unable to get a second goal to take the match.

In fact Ghana has yet to score a goal in general play and their two goals to date have come by way of penalties.

Ghana will now have to beat Germany to be assured of a place through to the next round.

Filed Under: 2010 World Cup