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Hero-villain Sterjovski gets winner for Australia (SN)

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 May 2008

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Derby County midfielder Mile Sterjovski scored the winner before he was red-carded in Australia’s 1-0 win over Ghana in a football friendly on Friday.

Sterjovski pounced on a defensive mix-up by Rennes defender John Mensah a minute after halftime to beat goalkeeper William Amamoo for the only goal of the game ahead of Australia’s month of World Cup qualifiers.

But Sterjovski was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes from the end for a shirt tug.

It was 43rd-ranked Australia’s fifth win over the 14th FIFA-ranked Africans in six meetings in what was their final game before their next World Cup qualifier, against Asian Cup champions Iraq in Brisbane on June 1.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who signed with English Premier League Fulham this week, celebrated his record 55th appearance for his country with a sharp reflex save to deny substitute Derek Asamoah’s back flick in the second minute of injury time to preserve the Socceroos’ lead.

Harry Kewell, who captained his country for the second time, had 73 minutes in his comeback from persistent injuries ahead of Australia’s four World Cup qualifiers next month.

Ghana, who used the match as preparation for their opening World Cup qualifying match at home against Libya on May 30, had most of the play in the final stages in search of a deserved equaliser.

Interim coach Sellas Tetteh took charge of the Black Stars following the departure of Frenchman Claude Leroy earlier this month.

The match began with an embarrassing gaffe when organisers lost the recording of Ghana’s national anthem leaving the Ghanaian players bewildered before the kickoff.

The anthem was belatedly played at the start of the second half and Football Federation Australia was later forced to “apologise profusely” to the Ghanaian Football Association and Ghana fans in the 30,000 crowd.

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