Ghana and Australia shared a 1-1 draw in their FIFA World Cup 2010 Group D clash to put the Gahanains top of the table and give Australia slim hopes of making the final stages too.
It could have been so much more for Australia, however, as they quickly recovered from their dismal 4-0 defeat at the hands of Germany by grabbing an 11th minute goal from Holman. There was a slice of luck involved in the goal, but Australia twice had had penalty claims turned down in a lively opening ten minutes through their talismanic Harry Kewell.
It was Kewell who would prove to be key, though, as the former Liverpool man ‘saved’ a goal-bound shot in just the 25th minute with the upper part of his arm when guarding a post. The ball was flying in. It was a handball. Red card; penalty. Gyan dispatched his second penalty in two games well before Ghana proceeded to play well but fail to capitalise on their one man advantage in nearly 70 minutes of football.
Indeed, it was Australia who should have scored again, when Luke Wilkshire gave Richard Kingson a chance when clean through one-on-one. The Ghana stopper is too good to refuse a placed shot bound for the top corner, at head height just a metre to his left, and so it would prove: he made a good save. It would have been the winner for the Socceroos.
Ghana could have won it late, though, but for the goalkeeper at the other end: Mark Schwarzer judged the flight of the Jabulani ball well in the final minute to tip over a blistering long range effort – something Ghana had been trying again and again despite patient build-up play until the final third – to finish the game in entertaining style.
This was a good spectacle, with both sides trying, and narrowly failing, to convert one point into three.
Ghana sit at the head of Group D by virtue of having been fairly stingy at the back, and getting two penalties against sides who have failed to convert their chances. Whoever wins the final match in this group could well win it.
This dangerous group is proving to be every bit as tricky as anticipated as all four teams head to the final match on Wednesday evening with something to play for – great for the fans, but nervy for all directly concerned.