Australia overcame the first-half dismissal of Harry Kewell to battle for a draw against Ghana that keeps their slim hopes of reaching the World Cup second round alive.
The Socceroos, hammered 4-0 by Germany in their opening Group D game, took an early lead through Brett Holman before former Liverpool forward Kewell was shown a straight red for a handball on the goal-line and Asamoah Gyan slotted home his second penalty of the tournament.
But an inexperienced Ghana side struggled against 10 men, showing limited imagination and resorting to shot after shot from long range.
And it was Australia who came closest to winning the match when Luke Wilkshire failed to beat Black Stars goalkeeper Richard Kingston when clean through on goal.
It was an impressive display from the Australians who had been lambasted by their national press after a meek opening performance and suffered the hammer blow of having a key man sent off for the second game in a row.
The Socceroos could still emulate their 2006 effort of reaching last 16 in South Africa if they defeat Serbia in their final game on Wednesday, while Ghana need only a point against the Germans to advance.
While injuries to captain John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah forced Ghana boss Milan Rajevac to field an inexperienced centre-back pairing of Lee Addy and Jonathan Mensah, under-fire Australia coach Pim Verbeek made four changes to the side that lost to Germany with Kewell called in to lead the attack.
And Kewell was immediately in the thick of the action, going down twice inside the area in the first 10 minutes but seeing both his penalty appeals turned down by Italian referee Roberto Rosetti.
The Socceroos had reason to thank the official shortly afterwards when he awarded the free-kick from which they took the lead.
Mark Bresciano's 30-yard strike bounced awkwardly in front of Kingston, but the keeper should have done more than just parrying the ball straight in front of him. Holman reacted quickest to clip the loose ball into the top corner.
Kingston has played more for his country than his club in the last four years and his sloppy work provided another page in the catalogue of goalkeeping gaffes at this World Cup.
Ghana, the only African team to win at the tournament so far, reacted with a series of pacy attacks and they did not have to wait long for their equaliser.
Andre Ayew showed great determination to work some space for himself on the byline and produce a measured cut-back to Mensah, whose powerful goalbound shot struck Kewell on the arm.
Kewell protested that the ball had hit his chest and implored the referee to watch the replay on the big screen but when the incident was shown again it entirely vindicated the decision to award a penalty and show the Australia frontman a red card.
Gyan sent Socceroos keeper Mark Schwarzer the wrong way from the spot.
The Black Stars initially made the most of their extra man, using the full width of the pitch to stretch Australia, and Rajevac's men could have gone ahead shortly before half-time.
Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng worked his way into the box and unleashed a right-footed shot that was brilliantly tipped around the post by Schwarzer, who had to be at his best once again shortly after the break to claw away a curler from Gyan.
Ghana seemed to lose their way as the game wore on, running out of ideas and firing speculative shots from distance which were often embarrassingly off target.
The Africans' profligacy seemed to awaken their opponents' senses to the possibility that they could still win the game and the Socceroos came close on two occasions.
First Scott Chipperfield headed over the bar, and then Wilkshire found acres of space in the box, but his shot was smothered by Kingston, who was on hand to gather Josh Kennedy's follow-up effort.
But Ghana ended the game the stronger side with Mensah heading over from Sulley Muntari's cross and Schwarzer pulling off a one-handed save to keep out Quincy Owusu-Abeyie's long-range strike.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
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