Monday 24 September 2018

VAR helps Australia earn a draw with controversial penalty after Christian Eriksen's touch of class

Denmark 1 Australia 1

Australia's midfielder Mile Jedinak (R) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot for Australia's first goal to equalise 1-1 with Australia's defender Mark Milligan
Australia's midfielder Mile Jedinak (R) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot for Australia's first goal to equalise 1-1 with Australia's defender Mark Milligan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Australia kept their World Cup hopes alive as a contentious penalty awarded using VAR technology earned them a 1-1 draw with Group C rivals Denmark.

Christian Eriksen had put Denmark ahead with a well-taken strike, only for Mile Jedinak to level from the penalty spot and secure a draw.

Both sides can still advance into the knockout stages with one game remaining but it was VAR which once again took centre stage at the Samara Arena.

Jedinak, who scored from the spot in the opening defeat to France, converted from 12 yards after VAR helped Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz judge that Yussuf Poulsen had handled in the box.

Peru missed a VAR-awarded penalty against the Danes in their first game, while Australia will feel justice has been served after they conceded a debatable penalty following video replays in the loss to France.

It was Eriksen who got the ball rolling for Denmark, their talisman on hand to thrash home Nicolai Jorgensen's flick from just inside the penalty area.

The European side continued to dominate most of the early proceedings, with Australia only having a number of set-pieces which failed to truly test Kasper Schmeichel.

Celta's Pione Sisto's long-range strike was well-held by Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan as Denmark led at the midway point of the first-half.

The lead should have been doubled by Jorgensen but the Feyenoord forward headed wide from in front of goal.

Australia created a rare chance following good work from Mathew Leckie, whose low cross resulted in a blocked shot from Robbie Kruse.

The video assistant referee then played a part in Australia's equaliser as match official Lahoz took a look at a handball claim against Poulsen.

He had originally waved away Australian protests but, despite the ball seemingly hitting Poulsen's arm by accident from Leckie's header, Lahoz pointed to the spot and Jedinak obliged to tuck home the penalty.

Trent Sainsbury was lucky not to turn the ball into his own goal as an Eriksen free-kick hit the defender and bounced goalwards, only for Ryan to claim.

The goal seemed to galvanise the belief among the Australian players, who started the second half well on top.

Neither side could create a meaningful goalscoring opportunity as the half wore on, Aaron Mooy firing wide with 20 minutes remaining before Tom Rogic forced a low save from Schmeichel.

Sisto went close at the other end, while Australia striker Andrew Nabbout was forced off with a serious-looking shoulder injury.

Daniel Arzani, the youngest player at the finals, came off the bench and tested Schmeichel before Leckie also brought another stop from the Leicester goalkeeper.

That was the last meaningful action of the contest, with both nations having to settle for a share of the spoils which maintains their respective hopes of making it out of Group C and into the knockout stages.

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