2-0 win for Socceroos over China
The Socceroos depth continues to rise ahead of July’s Asian Cup finals, after a confidence building 2-0 win over China in Guangzhou tonight. First half goals by Brett Holman and Marco Bresciano earned the Socceroos an impressive win.
The Socceroos depth continues to rise ahead of July-s Asian Cup finals, after a confidence building 2-0 win over China in Guangzhou tonight.
First half goals by Brett Holman and Marco Bresciano earned the Socceroos an impressive win, against a highly-ranked Asian team that was close to full strength.
Australia went into the match with just five players that featured in the World Cup finals last year, with debuts handed to Shane Steffanuto (the 500th Socceroo) and Carl Valeri, plus an inexperienced international bench.
Despite this, it was Australia who came out aggressively and had their hosts on the back foot, with captain Mark Viduka, showing all his skills to give himself opportunities that were both well saved by Chinese keeper Leilei in the first six minutes.
The early dominance by Australia proved decisive in the 8th minute, when Bresciano showed awareness and pace to get past two defenders and race into the box to set up Holman in the box. The Dutch-based striker did the rest to finish from around the penalty spot and deliver his first Socceroos goal.
Australia-s dominance continued as they attacked relentlessly, with the subdued Chinese seemingly mesmerised by the likes of Viduka and Bresciano, who were both outstanding.
It resulted in Bresciano adding a second goal in the 28th minute, when he capitalised on a defensive error, to brilliantly dink the ball over the defenders legs, get the ball onto his right foot and calmly stroke the shot past Leilei.
The one-way traffic continued with Mile Sterjovski going wide and with Viduka toying with the defenders, much to the appreciation of the Chinese crowd, it looked only at matter of time before another goal was added.
That looked to be on the cards, when Holman ran from a clear onside position to latch onto a through ball intended for Sterjovski. As Holman raced towards goal, he was sensationally called back by the linesman, who ruled Sterjovski offside, who had clearly halted his run to allow Holman through.
The second half was a totally different affair however, as China came out with more vigour and had Australia on the back foot, although the difference being Australia-s defence was holding up very well. Over zealous officiating, which saw the foul count reach 22-5 against Australia, didn-t help matters.
Within the first five minutes of the second half, China had doubled their goal attempts tally, although none seriously threatened Mark Schwarzer-s goal.
The humid conditions certainly looked to be taking its toll on the Aussie players as China kept possession and showed more desperation in their defensive duties.
China almost broke its duck in the 65th minute, with Jun Zhe breaking free on the right and cutting the ball back to Yan Peng, whose first time shot from six metres out, is brilliantly turned away by Schwarzer for a corner.
With the substitutions coming thick and fast (each team allowed six), the rhythm suddenly went out of the match, although China continued to press, but Schwarzer was never tested again and Australia held on for a well deserved win.
China 0 Australia 2 (Brett Holman 8-, Marco Bresciano 28-)
Australia's starting line-up: Mark Schwarzer (gk), Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire, Shane Steffanuto (Jade North 66-), Michael Beauchamp, Patrick Kisnorbo, Marco Bresciano (Nick Carle 80-), Carl Valeri (Jacob Burns 90-), Brett Holman (Archie Thompson 69-), Mile Sterjovski (Simon Colosimo 85-), Mark Viduka (c) (Scott McDonald 76-) Subs not used: Michael Thwaite, Ryan Griffiths, Brad Jones (gk).
Cautions: Beauchamp (32-), Holman (69-)
Referee: Wu Chao Jue (Hong Kong)
Venue: YueXiuShan Stadium, Guangzhou, China