Australia's Young Blood Steal The Show - Full Repo
Australia’s young blood stole the show to virtually guarantee qualification for the Confederation’s Cup Play-off in October, after defeating a determined Fiji 6-1 at Marden Sports Complex today.
The Socceroos have overcome a determined ten-man Fiji side 6-1 at the Marden Sports Complex today, thanks to a barrage of goals from some of the rising stars of Australian soccer.
Tim Cahill (pictured right) continued his fine form with a classy hat trick in which all goals came from his head, with defender Adrian Madaschi netting a rare brace.
Qantas Under 23 Ahmad Elrich scored a late pile driver to round out Australia-s six goals that came in response to Laisiasa Gataurua-s 19th minute equalizer for the Fijians.
In contradiction to the score line, the Fijians were resolute throughout the ninety minutes and refused to lie down, even after goal scorer Gataurua was sent from the field in the 60th minute for a retaliatory punch on Cahill.
Qantas Socceroo coach Frank Farina was relatively pleased with the performance from his team.
“I don-t think in the first half we were as good as we could be,” said Farina when asked for his thoughts on his sides- third consecutive victory.
“The pleasing thing is you want to get away and you want to win the games and you want to put on a good show for the people who come and watch.
“I thought in the second half we picked it up and credit to Fiji, they were well organized, but the pleasing thing for me is that we were patient, especially in the second half and we just stuck to it.”
Full credit must go to Fiji for their stellar first half showing.
Despite prophesising a likely defeat before the match, Tony Buesnel-s men were spirited in their play and showed rugged determination throughout the first forty-five minutes.
Even without their more noted players, the Fijians showed fantastic off the ball determination and looked much more enterprising than any opposition the Socceroos have faced in the tournament so far.
Early in the match, the 10-0 whitewash predicted in the Adelaide press seemed a mere formality when Madaschi poked home his first senior international goal after just six minutes. The Partick Thistle defender was the beneficiary of a dire goalkeeping error from Fiji custodian Laisienia Tuba.
Tuba, who made several key saves following his first up error, allowed a fairly tame free kick from Brett Emerton to slide through his legs and into the path of the onrushing Madaschi, who had little option but to touch home from a metre out.
Despite the setback, the Fijians maintained their intensity and drew level in the 19th minute.
Gataurua, one of the few first choice players backing up from Monday night, sped onto a neat through ball from Thomas Vulivuli to catch Australia-s unsuspecting defence on the break.
The afro-laden midfielder rounded Hearts defender Patrick Kisnorbo and coolly slotted his right-footed shot past Zeljko Kalac to shock the vocal crowd on hand and draw the visitors level.
What followed was a tense twenty-minute period in which the Fijians continued to frustrate the hosts with their tight defensive system.
FA Cup finalist Tim Cahill broke the deadlock for the Australians in the 39th minute thanks to what is fast becoming a Cahill cliché - a late run into the penalty area.
Cahill firmly nodded a Scott Chipperfield free kick past Tuba to restore the Socceroos lead and give Farina-s men the ascendancy coming into the break.
Shortly after half time, Madaschi doubled his career tally for the Socceroos with a coolly placed header from fellow Qantas Under 23 Alex Brosque-s corner.
The Fijians kept themselves in the match up to this point but were quickly on the back foot following Gataurua-s sending off fifteen minutes into the half.
After this moment, the Australia-s were unstoppable as they mounted attack after attack that eventually produced three more goals.
Cahill was on the end of two more crosses to round out his hat trick and another rising star, Elrich slotted a fierce twenty metre drive late in the game to finish off proceedings.
Farina spoke highly of his young performers after the match, particularly Millwall midfielder Cahill, who is fast becoming a revelation for the Australians.
“For me, that-s Tim-s strength, making runs into the box,” spoke Farina of the Qantas Socceroo newcomer.
“He-s a goal scoring midfielder as you can all see, but he makes great late runs and it-s very difficult for defenders to track that.
“He got three and was probably in three or four other really good positions as well.”
Farina also paid credit to the resilient Fijians, who now turn their focus to their remaining fixtures with the Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
“They were organized and they snuck a goal, but other than the goal I didn-t think there was any real danger at all,” said Farina at the post match press conference.
“You-re going to have periods in this tournament where you drop off for a little bit, we got caught with a sucker punch and they snuck a goal but I-m still reasonably happy.”
Fiji coach Buesnel, was left to lament a lack of fortune for his ambitious squad.
“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong today,” said Buesnel in reference to the injuries sustained by goalkeeper Tuba during the match and defender Nikola Raoma in the pre match warm up.
“To have lost the players we lost early, go down to ten men with what was a stupid, stupid punch, let-s be honest, I should send the lad home on the first flight, yet, we-ve come out of it with a lot of credit.
Buesnel will now pool all of his resources to Friday-s match with the Solomons, where a win will set up a tantalizing do or die encounter with New Zealand on the final day of competition.
“Let-s face it, what island country has ever had the same chance as us to maybe qualify for a Confederations Cup and stage three World Cup playoff?” Buesnel put to the media.
“We have to be serious about this and say that those two games are a major priority.
Australia: 18. Zeljko Kalac (gk), 2. Jade North, 5. Tony Vidmar, 6. Scott Chipperfield (12. Alex Brosque 46-), 7. Brett Emerton (21. Ahmad Elrich 46-), 10. Tim Cahill, 13. Vince Grella, 14. Patrick Kisnorbo, 15. Mile Sterjovski, 19. Max Vieri (17. David Zdrilic 60-), 20. Adrian Madaschi
Bookings: Emerton 34-, Cahill 58-, Kisnorbo 85-
Goals: Madaschi 6-, 50-, Cahill 39-, 66-, 75, Elrich 89-
Fiji: 23. Laisienia Tuba (gk) (1. Simione Tamanisau (gk) 45-), 2. Lorima Dau, 5. Emosi Baleinuku, 6. Jone Vesikula, 7. Malakai Kainihewe (4. Alvin Avinesh 83-), 9. Thomas Vulivuli, 11. Luke Vidovi (21. Pene Erenio 57-), 13. Taniela Waqa, 15. Salesh Kumar, 18. Laisiasa Gataurua, 22. Waisake Sabutu
Bookings: Gataurua RC 58-, Kumar 82-
Goals: Gataurua 19-
Referee: Eduardo Gonzalez (Spain)