SYDNEY - Substitute Alex Brosque fired an
86th minute winner as Australia fought back from a goal down to
edge Thailand 2-1 in their World Cup third round qualifier in
Brisbane on Friday.
Brosque lashed home a left foot strike from inside the
penalty area to complete the comeback after Thai defender
Chonlatit Jantakam slipped as the ball bounced to the Australian
The result and three points gave Australia an early lead in
Group D with Oman hosting Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia later on
Friday in the other match in the group.
Although the Socceroos dominated possession they failed to
create the chances they should have in a rusty performance in
front of 24,540 fans.
The Thais took a surprise lead in the 14th minute after a
quick break from their own half when Neil Kilkenny gave the ball
Midfielder Matt McKay, playing out of position at left-back,
was exposed as the visitors broke down their right and a
pinpoint cross from Jakkaphan Kaewprom cut out Australian
captain Lucas Neill.
Teerasil Dangda was on hand to cushion the ball past a
helpless Mark Schwarzer.
Australia, ranked 22 by FIFA and some 98 places ahead of
Thailand, improved their intensity after the break and equalised
in the 58th minute through Japan-based striker Josh Kennedy.
McKay made up for his earlier error by firing a left-foot
shot which goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattankool could only
parry to the feet of Kennedy who easily converted to equalise.
Thailand, who narrowly edged Palestine 3-2 on aggregate in
the previous round, were marshalled superbly by defender Niweat
Siriwong as they battled to hold the mighty Australians at bay.
But Chonlatit's late slip allowed Brosque the space to fire
the winner as Australia coach Holger Osieck was able to
celebrate victory over his compatriot, Thailand boss Winfried
Australia travel to the Middle East to play Saudi Arabia on
Tuesday with Thailand hosting Oman.
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