Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by ten-man Australia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but moved to the top of Group D with four points from two matches. The west Africans could not take advantage of the first-half dismissal of Harry Kewell to claim maximum points, but managed to lift themselves above Serbia and Germany in the section.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was forced to reshuffle his rearguard due to an injury to Isaac Vorsah, with Jonathan Mensah, who had sufficiently recovered from injury, forming a centre-back partnership with Lee Addy. For his part, Australia coach Pim Verbeek made no fewer than four changes to the side that had been overrun 4-0 by Germany. Harry Kewell started in place of the suspended Tim Cahill up front, with left-back David Carney brought in for Scott Chipperfield. In midfield, Richard Garcia and the injured Vince Grella were replaced by Mark Bresciano and Brett Holman respectively.
After some nervy opening exchanges in front of the watching Germany coach Joachim Low, the Socceroos got the first chance of note on 11 minutes and they duly converted it. Mark Bresciano’s powerful free-kick from 30 yards was only parried by Richard Kingson, with the ball falling kindly for the onrushing Brett Holman, who gleefully fired in the first goal of the tournament for the Aussies.
Ghana struggled for fluency early on and they had to wait a further ten minutes for their first serious attempt on goal, with Andre Ayew’s shot from the edge of the area stopped only by a crucial Lucas Neil interception. However, the Black Stars soon restored parity in a moment that proved a hammer blow to Australia's hopes. Asamoah Gyan equalised from the spot after Kewell was adjudged to have stopped Mensah’s shot with his right arm – the Socceroos No10 earning a red card on his long-awaited return after injury. Prince Tagoe then had a chance to put his side into a lead minutes later, but he drilled the ball well wide of the left post.
Ghana surged forward in search of their second goal with half-time approaching, and Kevin-Prince Boateng’s shot from the right side of the area only narrowly failed to find the mark, Mark Schwarzer making a fingertip save. The Black Stars began the second half where they left off in the first, with Kwadwo Asamoah and Gyan trying their luck from distance.
Fleet-footed forward Quincy Owusu-Abeyie was brought on for Tagoe just before the hour, but the Ghanaians could not find a breakthrough against a resilient Australia defence. For their part, Australia called on Joshua Kennedy in an attempt to take control in the air and they had chances to win the match. Substitute Chipperfield headed over from a Luke Wilkshire cross and Wilkshire himself spurned a glorious opportunity after 72 minutes, shooting straight at Kingson. The Wigan Athletic goalkeeper then did well to stop a volley from Kennedy.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Australia kept on attacking and Verbeek also sent on striker Nikita Rukavytsya for Wilkshire. At the opposite end, though, the Black Stars might have scored a late winner but Mensah’s header went just wide of the right post and Owusu-Abeyie’s curling shot was tipped over by Schwarzer.