A stoppage-time penalty from Yaw Yeboah has denied Austria the first big upset of New Zealand 2015, snatching Ghana a 1-1 draw from the jaws of defeat. The 2009 champions had looked set to emerge empty-handed against superior Group B opponents who had earlier taken the lead through Bernd Gschweidl.
Despite some unpleasant weather conditions in rain-soaked Wellington, both sides contributed to an open and entertaining encounter. Ghana were the first to threaten, with captain Joseph Bempah attempting a spectacular effort from the angle of the penalty area that was swerving towards the top corner before Tino Casali got across to divert it wide.
At the other end, Bempah’s opposite number and fellow captain, Lukas Gugganig, was soon serving notice of Austria’s intentions. The Red Bull Salzburg star made the sweetest of connections with a ferociously struck 30-yard shot and was only thwarted by an equally stunning tip-over from Lawrence Ati produces an equally stunning save to tip it over.
Gugganig’s was far from a lone moment of inspiration and Austria continued to grow in confidence as the match progressed. They certainly enjoyed the better of the second half and it was no more than they deserved when Gschweidl gave them a 50th-minute lead. For Ghana, the goal was a horror show, with the casual Emmanual Ntim robbed at the byline before Austria’s No14 fired home at the second attempt after seeing his initial shot was saved by Ati.
The Europeans looked comfortable with their advantage and should really have doubled it ten minutes later when Markus Blutsch blazed over from a good position. However, just as they looked to be coasting a well-earned win, disaster struck.
With the final seconds of the 90 ticking down, a clumsy and needless challenge from Konrad Laimer on Yeboah resulted in an inevitable and inarguable penalty. Yeboah dusted himself down to take responsibility for the kick and dispatched it expertly, side-footing a left-foot shot low to the right of the helpless Casani.
The result maintains the balance in a section in which Argentina had earlier drawn with Panama.