Doha [Qatar], June 8 (ANI): Australia will be the AFC representatives in Monday’s decisive Inter-Continental Playoff for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after the Socceroos defeated the United Arab Emirates 2-1 at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in the AFC Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday.
With Australia contesting their seventh FIFA World Cup playoff and the UAE at this stage for the first time in their history, both teams looked to attack from the start as Harib Suhail was caught narrowly offside and Jackson Irvine saw his cross cleared at the far post all inside the first three minutes.
Despite the promising start, the first real chance of the game did not arrive until halfway through the opening period when Martin Boyle beat his marker on the right flank and floated a cross for Irvine whose headed attempt failed to find the direction of the target.
Set-pieces continued to be the Socceroos’ main weapon and Craig Goodwin whipped one into the box from the left side but it merely brushed Kye Rowels’ head and went wide with 10 minutes to go until the break.
The second half got off to a fiery start as Suhail embarked on a blistering solo run down the left, beating a couple of Australian defenders before attempting a drilled shot from a narrow angle that was parried away by goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
The first goal of the night arrived eight minutes after the restart after Boyle dribbled past UAE left-back Waleed Abbas and centre-back Khalifa Al Hammadi before crossing low from the byline for the onrushing Irvine who swept home past Khalid Eisa to open the scoring for Australia.
The Socceroos’ joy was short-lived, however, as Irvine himself went from hero to zero, failing to clear Suhail’s cross from the left, allowing the ball to fall for Caio Canedo who controlled it and powered into the roof of the net to equalise in the 57th minute.
As the game looked headed towards extra time, an Aaron Mooy corner kick was cleared by the Emirati defence but only as far as the edge of the box where Ajdin Hrustic awaited.
Helped by a lucky deflection off Ali Salmin, the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder’s powerful half-volley beat Eisa to seal the win for Australia. (ANI)