Australia beaten by Kuwait - Full Report
Two second half goals in quick succession, has secured a 2-0 for Kuwait over Australia in their AFC Asian Cup qualifier played in Kuwait City. The win now moves Kuwait to within two points of Australia in the group table.
Two second half goals in quick succession, has secured a 2-0 for Kuwait over Australia in their AFC Asian Cup qualifier played in Kuwait City.
The win now moves Kuwait to within two points of Australia in the group table and more importantly for them into prime position to go through to the finals as one of the top two teams.
Kuwait exposed Australia-s defence twice in four minutes, with goals from its two stars Khalad Al Mutairi and Bader Al Mutwa.
Al Mutairi grabbed the first goal in the 56th minute, with a fine diving header, while Al Mutwa beat Mark Schwarzer with an unbeatable shot four minutes later.
In a game of few clear cut chances for Australia, Ryan Griffiths will rue a bad miss in the first half, that may well have changed the complexion of the game.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was obviously disappointed with the result, but believes the experience will be a benefit for the team.
“You-re always disappointed when you lose,” said Arnold. “We tried our hardest; we had a good chance to go one up before the break and if that goes in it changes the complexion of the game.
“Their (the players) energy was sapped; I-m not looking at this as an excuse (for the loss), but that-s reality. This is why we moved into Asia, because it offers new challengers and takes players out of their comfort zones.
“You have to give credit to Kuwait, they were good tonight, they were very well organised and when they had their chances they took them."
Australia started the match slowly and could quite easily have found themselves down after nine minutes, when they survived a confident appeal for a penalty. Al Mutairi was put through in the box and as Schwarzer came out the Kuwaiti striker went down.
However the experienced Japanese referee believed Al Mutairi made the more of the challenge by Schwarzer and awarded a goal kick.
However after the first 15 minutes, Australia started to get control of the ball and Luke Wilkshire and Ahmad Elrich had shots at goal, which failed to hit the target.
Michael Beauchamp saw a header go across the face of goal from a corner, while the Kuwaiti keeper was out quickly to snuff out a chance for John Aloisi after he was put through by Josip Skoko.
Schwarzer though needed to be alert as Al Mutwa and then Al Mutairi had shots from outside the penalty area, while Al Dawood headed over the bar.
Australia-s attacking stocks took a battering with Aloisi suffering a nasty cut under his eye, while the biggest blow was the awkward landing by Elrich after contesting the ball and initial prognosis is he has damaged his cruciate ligament in his knee.
His departure resulted in a debut for Ryan Griffiths, who was immediately involved in a good chance for Aloisi, but he snapped his shot wide.
With Australia on top, they created several half chances, but with two minutes left on the clock till half time, Griffiths should have given Australia the lead.
Skoko-s excellent ball for Mile Sterjovski got him in behind the defence and his low cross found Griffiths at the back post, with the goal at his mercy, but he somehow sliced his shot onto the post.
The second half much like the first with Kuwait on top and getting in behind the defence down the flanks. They made a breakthrough in the 56th minute, when Jaraq Al Ataiqi spotted the run of Al Mutairi in behind the defence and he dived to head home past Schwarzer.
Kuwait didn-t let up with the ever dangerous Al Mutwa doubling the lead in the 60th minute, playing a one-two with Faraq Saeed and lashing his shot home inside the far post.
Australia stepped up as Kuwait went into defence mode, but struggled to break down the stacked defence. Any shots they did get in failed to hit the target, with the best two coming in the last ten minutes.
Griffiths shot inches wide from the edge of the box, while Aloisi also went wide when presented with an open sight of goal following a mistake by the Kuwait defence.
Arnold will now have some serious thinking to do ahead of Australia-s double header next month when they host Paraguay in a Brisbane friendly and then Bahrain in their final match of the qualifiers, to be played in Sydney.
Kuwait 2 (Khalad Al Mutairi 56-, Bader Al Mutwa 60-) Australia 0
Australia line-up: Mark Schwarzer (gk); Josip Skoko, Scott Chipperfield, John Aloisi, Luke Wilkshire (Scott McDonald 63-), Ahmad Elrich (Ryan Griffiths 30-), Ljubo Milicevic, Brett Holman, Michael Beauchamp, Jon McKain, Mile Sterjovski Subs not used: Ante Covic (gk); Patrick Kisnorbo, Nick Ward, Jacob Burns
Cautions: Griffiths (32-), McKain (62'), Milicevic (92-)