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Aussies overcome controversy to edge E. Guinea

Jul 3, 2011 - 7:37 PM Bochum, Germany (Sports Network) - Australia overcame possibly the worst non- call in Women's World Cup history to defeat Equatorial Guinea, but the obvious uncalled handball will not haunt the Aussies.

Emily van Egmond and Lisa De Vanna both scored in the first six minutes of the second half and Australia downed Equatorial Guinea, 3-2, on Sunday despite not being awarded an obvious penalty kick in the first half.

"I think as a team we could have done a little bit better in terms of our performance," De Vanna said, "but at the end we got the three points and that is what is important."

Australia just needs a draw against Norway on Wednesday in its last group game to seal a quarterfinal berth.

Leena Khamis put Australia in front after 8 minutes, and after she sent a shot off the post in the 16th, Equatorial Guinea defender Bruna picked up the ball when the play was still alive.

Australia's players appealed for a handball - which should have been called by referee Gyoengyi Gaal or one of her assistants - but Bruna instead dropped the ball and Equatorial Guinea goalie Miriam scoped it up and play continued.

"Gaal Gyoengyi, the referee, told me after the game that she was sorry that she missed that incident. She expressed her deep sorrow," match commissioner Karen Espelund said.

Genoveva Anonman scored five minutes later for Equatorial Guinea, a first-time World Cup qualifier, but Van Egmond and De Vanna helped put the controversy at Ruhrstadion out of the spotlight.

After hitting the crossbar late in the first half, the Aussies had no trouble finding the net early in the second half after the introduction of De Vanna.

De Vanna scored four goals in the 2007 World Cup and although she didn't score the first goal after half, her presence made a difference.

Khamis helped set up the first goal after half as she sent a cross in from the left end line and, although it missed a teammate in the middle of the area, it found Van Egmond on the far side and she scored from 12 yards in the 48th.

Collette McCallum set up the next goal in the 51st when she played a long ball down the middle of the field that De Vanna ran under and with two defenders on her heels and Miriam coming off her line, calmly scored inside the right post.

McCallum found the crossbar later in the half as Australia missed another good chance, and Anonman made the closing minutes interesting after she scored her second goal of the match in the 83rd.

Anonman, in an instant replay from her first goal, won the ball from Australia defender Servet Uzunlar just outside the area and scored inside the right post from just inside the area.

Australia was third on goal differential after its match, but after Norway was beaten 3-0 by Brazil later Sunday, that tiebreaker - and the possible goal off the penalty - became irrelevant as the Aussies moved into second.

"We are pleased that we won and that we are still in the competition," Aussie coach Tom Sermanni said.

Equatorial Guinea, which was eliminated, plays its last game Wednesday against Brazil. The Brazilians have clinched a quarterfinal berth.

"Australia has very fast players, they are a very good team and a very settled team and we knew it would be very difficult," Equatorial Guinea coach Marcello Frigerio said.