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Socceroos do it easy against Bahrain

Australia got their act together in the second half with two goals to beat Bahrain in Sydney earlier tonight. They remain on track to stay top of group A and will do so with at least a draw against Japan next Wednesday at the MCG.

Their performance was far from spectacular, but second half goals to winger Mile Sterjovski and defender David Carney ensured the Socceroos carried on their impressive form in the final stage of qualification.
Goals & highlights from the game

The win kept them at top of Group A with only one match to play, against Japan in Melbourne next week, and preserved their record of not conceding a goal in the final stage of qualifiers.

Coach Pim Verbeek made seven changes from the starting side that drew with Qatar in the Middle Eastern heat just three days ago, most notably leaving out Tim Cahill, who he said had muscle stiffness, and starting Vince Grella on the bench.

With captain Lucas Neill suspended and regulars including Josh Kennedy, Mark Bresciano and Scott Chipperfield already ruled out, Verbeek handed rare starts to the likes of Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan and Sterjovski, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer handed the captaincy.

Australia should have taken the lead in the first half when striker Scott McDonald missed a golden chance to break his international duck by blasting over from close range.

The Celtic striker, who also came close late in the second half, was played into space by a clever through ball from Brett Holman and had time to take a touch before shooting, but opted to hit his shot first time and blasted it over.

Aside from that and a couple of close calls from Bahrain, there was little to cheer about until Sterjovski chimed in early in the second half with his eighth international goal.

The move which led to the goal started after Carney launched a brilliant long ball to Harry Kewell, who turned it inside with his first touch.

Bahraini midfielder Aaish then made a meal of clearing the ball and Sterjovski pounced to neatly turn it into the net.

The visitors, though, thought they had equalised shortly after when Abdulla Marzooq headed in from Aaish’s free kick but it was correctly ruled offside.

The result was put beyond doubt in the 88th minute through the impressive Carney, whose club career is in limbo after being placed on the Sheffield United’s transfer list.

The wing-back played a looped square ball to midfielder Jason Culina, who struck the left upright with a spectacular bicycle kick, but Carney was there to poke home the scraps for his second international goal.

Bahrain’s loss means they are still likely to need a point from their final match against Uzbekistan to ensure third sport and a play-off against a group B side.

AUSTRALIA 2 (Mile Sterjovski 55m, David Carney 89m) bt BAHRAIN 0 at ANZ Stadium.
Referee: Abdullah Al Hilali.

Written by
Real Football

Published on June 10, 2009

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