Australia got back on track in their World Cup qualification group as Mile Jedinak, Tim Cahill and an own goal earned them a 3-0 win against Kyrgyzstan at Canberra Stadium on Thursday.
Ange Postcecoglou’s men suffered a blip last time out as they were beaten 2-0 by Group B leaders Jordan, but Australia moved within a point of top spot following a dominant display in the capital.
Towards the end of a first half that saw Cahill strike the post as Australia dominated, returning skipper Jedinak opened the scoring from the spot – the midfielder making his first Socceroos appearance since the reverse fixture against Kyrgyzstan in June following a hamstring injury.
Shortly after the restart, Cahill all but took the game away from the visitors when he registered his 42nd goal at international level.
And the result was sealed late on thanks to Ildar Amirov’s own goal, as Australia moved a point behind Jordan after winning their game in hand against a Kyrgyzstan side who are now four points behind the Socceroos.
Debutant James Meredith was heavily involved early on, his cross finding Cahill three minutes in with the veteran’s acrobatic effort well kept out by Pavel Matiash.
Kyrgyzstan gradually grew into the contest as Valerii Kichin saw an effort deflected over but Cahill remained a threat for the hosts when his angled strike – following Aaron Mooy’s saved effort – rattled the woodwork 15 minutes in.
Meredith gave Australia a scare when he tangled with Viktor Maier in the area, although penalty appeals were waved away, before Tomi Juric pulled up with an injury and was forced off prior to the half-hour mark.
A double save from Matiash denied Massimo Luongo and Cahill while Mark Milligan failed to connect with the goal at his mercy but Australian pressure paid off as they ensured a half-time lead courtesy of captain Jedinak.
His 10th international goal, after a foul from Islam Shamshiev on Juric’s replacement Nathan Burns, sent Postecoglou’s men in ahead at the break before Cahill doubled that advantage with a deserved goal early in the second half.
Mooy angled an expert throughball for Cahill, who edged closer to a half century of goals for the Socceroos as he swept the ball past Matiash from inside the area.
Fully in the ascendancy, Australia continued to pile on the pressure as Matiash was again called on to deny Burns with another fine double stop. Jedinak was then withdrawn on the hour for locally-born Tom Rogic as a rare foray forward from Amirov came to nothing.
However, the forward did make a telling contribution in his own penalty area, as he unwittingly glanced home a corner 21 minutes from time to complete the scoring.
Cahill could have made a convincing victory more comfortable but was twice denied by Matiash late on, Postecoglou’s men now travelling to Bangladesh eager to keep the pressure on Jordan, who are also in action against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.
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