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Australia hold nerve, draw 1-1 with Ghana

Harry Kewell was sent off for blocking Jonathan Mensah's shot on the goal line with his upper arm.

test sharma | Associated Press

Updated:June 19, 2010, 7:20 PM IST
Australia hold nerve, draw 1-1 with Ghana
Harry Kewell was sent off for blocking Jonathan Mensah's shot on the goal line with his upper arm.

Rustenburg: Australia held on for a 1-1 draw despite Ghana's man advantage for more than 66 minutes in the World Cup on Saturday, further tightening Group D.

Australia forward Brett Holman scored in the 11th minute after goalkeeper Richard Kingson bobbled a free kick from Mark Bresciano right into his path. Holman put the rebound past the keeper.

Harry Kewell led the Australian attack against Ghana as one of four changes to the team beaten by Germany. But he was given a red card in the 24th minute after he blocked a shot from Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah at the goal line with his upper arm.

Asamoah Gyan converted the penalty kick in the 25th minute for his second goal of the tournament, both from the penalty spot.

Ghana nearly went ahead two minutes later when Prince Tagoe's close-range shot carried just wide, and again just before halftime. Forward Kevin-Prince Boateng made a speedy run down the right wing and fired his shot toward the far post. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made a magnificent diving save.

Ghana tops Group D with four points, followed by Serbia and Germany with three each, Australia with one.

The Black Stars continually broke through Australia's defense and threatened to score, but couldn't finish. The 10-man Aussies also attacked and came close to a winner several times.

Australia got off to a fast start as it looked to rebound from a 4-0 defeat to Germany. Coach Pim Verbeek was heavily criticized for fielding a defensive lineup in that match and for not going with a recognized striker.

So Kewell's red card against Ghana was a difficult blow because it dulled Australia's dominance in the opening stages.

In the second half, Australia nearly scored when a cross was headed just over the net by substitute Scott Chipperfield, who has just come on. Seconds later, another Ghana attack almost resulted in a goal when a cross from the right was just missed by a sliding Gyan in front of goal.

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