Australia Defeat Indonesia But Charity Is The Winn
Australia ended their two-match PowerAde Series campaign on a high note after they easily accounted for Asian neighbours Indonesia 3-0 at Perth’s Subiaco Oval in a match which saw all proceeds go to the AFC-FIFA solidarity fund for tsunami victims.
By Joseph Sapienza
Australia ended their two-match PowerAde Series campaign on a high note after they easily accounted for Asian neighbours Indonesia 3-0 at Perth-s Subiaco Oval in a match which saw all proceeds go to the AFC-FIFA solidarity fund for tsunami victims.
Frank Farina made eight changes to the starting line-up that narrowly overcame Iraq in Sydney on the weekend with the new inclusions given a chance to impress ahead of June-s FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany. However despite a second minute lapse in which a gift from holding midfielder Jon McKain eventually found its way to diminutive striker Ilham Jaya Kesuma, whose subsequent angled shot inside the box was saved by Zeljko Kalac, Australia were rarely threatened and used their bulk of possession to pepper the Indonesian goal.
Five minutes later, Tony Vidmar managed to get inside the Indonesian six-yard box but nudged Brett Emerton-s corner wide of the right post.
Debutant and former Perth Glory star Ljubo Milicevic made a dashing run from deep into the opposition penalty area but stabbed his shot into the side netting as Australia started to stamp their authority on the match.
After Jason Culina and Emerton both spurned opportunity to shoot first time, Australia finally struck.
Hometown hero Stan Lazaridis didn-t disappoint the crowd of 13,719 and made a typical surging run down the left wing to fling in an excellent cross that met Milicic-s head on 25 minutes. The Newcastle Jets signing expertly heading the ball out of the reach of goalkeeper Hendro Kartiko and into the top right corner of the net.
After both Luke Wilkshire and Milicic completely missed the target on 33 and 37 minutes respectively, Mile Sterjovski (pictured) was unlucky not to have doubled Australia-s lead after a fine build up.
From just inside the Indonesia half, Vidmar looped in a perfectly weighted cross for Sterjovski, who after chesting it down, had his goal-bound volley thwarted by Hendro.
Indonesia were knocking the ball around well and created pressure in doses around the Australian box and down the wings, but their shots and crosses proved easy prey for Kalac.
Kalac was given a fright though on 28 minutes, when midfielder Syamsul Bachri fed wing back Ortizan Salossa on the left. Salossa-s centred ball was almost turned into the net by Milicevic but Kalac was alert to parry it out for a corner.
After the interval, Indonesia had the most of possession in the early stages but again, were very blunt when it came down to trying to rattle Kalac-s net.
Three minutes before the hour mark however, Australia doubled their lead.
Sterjovski floated in a corner from the left and it was headed down by substitute Tony Popovic into the six-yard box. Although replays clearly suggest Hamka Hamzah bundled the ball into his own net, the goal was officially awarded to Milicic by the referee.
Both sides began to use their substitutes in the second half but none proved more effective than Ahmad Elrich - who had came on during the interval for Emerton.
Elrich and his teammates started to test the width of the Indonesian defence as Australia began lofting in crosses and squaring passes from the wings as the game wore on, but it wasn-t until five minutes from the end that Australia added a third.
Elrich, after switching to the left flank, gathered the ball, moved into the box and crossed in low for fellow substitute David Zdrilic, who controlled the assist and struck it past Hendro from close range.
Farina was pleased with his side-s win.
“We got better as the match wore on,” he said. “We created a lot of chances and I thought we were very sharp in patches. We kept the ball well at times.”
When asked about the new inclusions to the side, Farina was content about their performances and said “no one let us down.”
“We-ve got a lot out of our last two games. There are a few areas we can work on and tonight gave us an opportunity to work on a few things. It was a good lesson against a side that played counter-attacking football.”
*The Australian players donated their match fee and win bonus to the tsunami benefit fund, which amounted to some $50,000.