Aussies hang in there thanks to VAR penalty

Australian fans react in a Melbourne pub, as they watch on giant screens Australia play Denmark in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match on June 21, 2018.
Australian fans react in a Melbourne pub, as they watch on giant screens Australia play Denmark in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match on June 21, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

GROUP C

Denmark 1

Australia 1


SAMARA • Australia kept their World Cup dream alive after they drew 1-1 with Denmark in another match featuring a controversial video assistant referee (VAR) decision yesterday.

This time the decision went in Australia's favour and Mile Jedinak converted a penalty to cancel out Christian Eriksen's opener.

But their fate is out of their hands. They need to beat Peru in their final Group C game and hope that the other result on Tuesday goes their way to make the last 16.

Denmark's Norwegian manager Age Hareide will be hoping his side, on four points, recover ahead of their next game against France.

"My players looked tired," he said. "We lost the ball too often, faced too many counter-attacks and had to do too much running."

The opening goal originated from a reverse pass by Nicolai Jorgensen on seven minutes. The Feyenoord forward flicked the ball behind him and into the path of Eriksen inside the 18-yard box. The Tottenham playmaker showed his class by burying a left-footed half-volley beyond Mathew Ryan.

As they did against France in their opener, Australia looked to do damage on the counter-attack and the rousing runs by Mathew Leckie down the channels caused a headache for Denmark.

 

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     Australia's last five goals in competitive games have come from penalties scored by Mile Jedinak.

He contributed to the Australian breakthrough on 38 minutes, rising prominently on the penalty spot with Yussuf Poulsen barging in with a late challenge.

The Dane did not have much time to address his flailing limbs and Leckie's header struck his left forearm. Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz briefly left the field to consult the VAR monitor and decided to award a penalty.

Australia may have felt they were due a lenient VAR decision. Against France, Josh Risdon was judged to have fouled Antoine Greizmann, much to the outrage of the Australian players.

Jedinak ended Kasper Schmeichel's Denmark record run of nine hours and 31 minutes without conceding at international level.

Australia's last five goals in competitive games have come from Jedinak penalties. That lack of alternative scoring channels was obvious in the second half, as Australia failed to steal victory despite having the lion's share of the ball.

"I feel we should have won. It's like against France: I'm disappointed and proud, and feel we deserved more," Australia's Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said. "I honestly think we've deserved four points from these two games.

"It is just the last piece of the puzzle we are missing. Now we must concentrate on Peru. The rest - in terms of whether we can qualify - we cannot influence."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2018, with the headline 'Aussies hang in there thanks to VAR penalty'. Print Edition | Subscribe