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Pretoria - Ghana's hopes of reaching the World Cup second round received a huge boost here on Sunday as they beat Serbia 1-0 in their opening Group D match.
An 85th-minute penalty by Asamoah Gyan was enough to take the three points after it was awarded by Argentinian referee Hector Baldassi for handball against Zdravko Kuzmanovic.
Serbia, who lost all three matches in 2006 under the banner of Serbia and Montenegro, had been up against it when Aleksandar Lukovic was sent-off for a second bookable offence in the 74th minute.
What few chances there were in the game largely came from dead ball situations.
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic and Serbia captain Dejan Stankovic combined to chop down the rampaging Prince Tagoe but Gyan fired the 25 yard free-kick over the bar on four minutes.
On the quarter-hour mark Nikola Zigic almost turned a driven Kwadwo Asamoah cross into his own net before the Udinese wide-man then teed up centre-back John Mensah from a free-kick but the Sunderland centre-back headed over.
Gyan was then barely an inch away from converting an inswinging Kevin-Prince Boateng cross from six yards before Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov curled a free-kick just over.
Group favourites Germany play Australia later on Sunday in Durban.
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