Australia made sure of their place in the third stage of Asia’s 2022 World Cup qualifying format with a routine 3-0 victory over 10-man Nepal.
After resounding wins over hosts Kuwait and Chinese Taipai, boss Graham Arnold again rung the changes at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium but it made little difference to the outcome.
Mathew Leckie, captain for the night, gave the Socceroos an early advantage and Fran Karacic’s maiden international goal had doubled the lead by the time Rohit Chand was sent off for a professional foul on Martin Boyle before half-time.
Boyle completed the scoring, with a seventh consecutive win to wrap up top spot in Group B long beyond doubt before then.
A @Socceroos goal made in Scotland!
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) June 11, 2021
It took Leckie only six minutes to find the breakthrough, meeting left-back Aziz Behich’s cross with a powerful header.
Karacic enjoyed a moment to savour in the 38th minute after Leckie skipped past a desperate lunge from Suman Aryal and picked out the Brescia right-back to slot home.
Leckie was involved again shortly afterwards as Nepal’s evening took another sour turn, releasing Boyle to be unceremoniously brought down by Chand, who gave the referee little option.
Boyle looked set to experience personal disappointment when he botched a free header early in the second half before slicing into the side netting. But a sublime curling cross from Hibernian team-mate Jackson Irvine in the 57th minute allowed the 28-year-old to tap in from close range.
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