Colosimo's Late Goal Earns Australia Win Over Arch
Australia has turned in a patchy performance, but still did enough to earn a 1-0 win over a gallant New Zealand in this morning’s international at Craven Cottage in London. Simon Colosimo socred the winner, five minutes from the end.
Australia has turned in a patchy performance, but still did enough to earn a 1-0 win over a gallant New Zealand in this morning-s international at Craven Cottage in London.
Perth Glory-s Simon Colosimo (pictured right tangling with Vaughan Coveny) scored the all-important winner just five minutes from the end of normal time, with a good left-foot shot from the edge of the box.
While not the Socceroos best game, they can now head to the Confederations Cup and a meeting with hosts Germany in five days time, in a confident frame of mind.
Both teams went into the match missing a host of first team regulars, but after the opening exchanges everyone knew this was no friendly international between the two fierce trans-Tasman rivals.
Australia, while missing the likes of Harry Kewell, Stan Lazaridis, Mark Bresciano, Mark Viduka and Vince Grella, still had an all-star cast look about it and slowly got on top after 10 minutes.
Midfield general Josip Skoko was his typical busy self and he was the first to test either goalmouth with a 20-yard free kick that shaved the crossbar in the 11th minute.
However all too often good lead up work went to waste, with crosses just fractionally out and New Zealand-s defence led admirably by captain Danny Hay, proven stubborn and resilient.
Australia looked to exploit the flanks via Scott Chipperfield and Brett Emerton against their younger and vastly inexperienced opponents, while the Kiwi-s were always looking to break quickly and look for fouls around the penalty box to try and exploit their height advantage at set pieces.
Indeed this is where New Zealand-s first attempt at goal came from, with Kiwi-born but Australian-raised Adrian Webster, making his international debut, crossing into the middle, where Che Bunce climbed but headed wide.
Tim Cahill, then showed why he is threat in the air, when he was on the end of terrific run and cross by Chipperfield, only for his close range header to take a deflection of Bunce, which diverted the ball across the face of goal and just agonizingly out of reach of Jon McKain, who lurking in the middle of the goalmouth.
New Zealand started to gain in confidence and on 29 minutes, should have taken the lead, when they prized open the Australian defence with some good one-touch passing. Brent Fisher found himself clear in the box, but he dragged his shot across the goal with only Mark Schwarzer to beat.
Skoko was looking the most influential midfielder on the park and on 41 minutes, almost created the opening goal with a superb cross to the back post. Emerton came racing in with a diving header, but he only ended up missing the ball altogether from only four yards out.
An early half chance to McKain seconds into the second half signaled Australia-s intent, but New Zealand battened down the hatches and continually thwarted Australia-s attacking raids with stubbornness and desperation. Any Australian shots were coming from outside the box and generally not enough to make Kiwi keeper Mark Paston sweat.
Webster, who plays for Darlington in England, went within inches of making it a memorable debut, with a curling effort that had beat substitute keeper Zeljko Kalac, but sailed past the right post.
However as the half wore on Australia picked up the tempo against a tiring Kiwi side, with Chipperfield always dangerous on the ball and substitutes Archie Thompson and Ahmad Elrich looked to run at the Kiwi defence.
Cahill, Chipperfield and Thompson all had chances, before Colosimo, who had earlier come on for Skoko, struck the killer goal in the 85th minute.
Predictably it came via man-of-the-match Chipperfield when he received ball near the left edge of the penalty area, but with the Kiwi defence back-peddling anticipating a cross, he laid into the path of Colosimo, who took one touch forward and hit a low, left-foot shot that sneaked inside the far post.
Australia now looked the only team that would score after this as, Neill was denied minutes later by Paston, while Cahill had a stinging volley following a corner, deflected wide of the near post by David Mulligan.
Socceroos coach Frank Farina acknowledged that he team needs a significant improvement if it is to overcome Germany in five days time, but believed the match was a benefit for his side.
“The match served a purpose for us and they certainly made it hard for us,” he said after the match. “It was a matter of patience and in general, I was pleased with the hit-out.
“I thought the second half we played extremely well, created a number of chances and the goal finally came.”
When asked about what they can take out of this game before the match against Germany next Wednesday night, Farina believes the fact that they have had a run is good for the boys as many have not had a competitive game for nearly a month.
“It served a purpose and got the cobwebs out and I think leaves us in good stead for the first game.” AUSTRALIA 1 (Simon Colosimo 86') NEW ZEALAND 0
Australian line-up: Mark Schwarzer (Zejko Kalac h/t), Lucas Neill, Craig Moore (c) (Ljubo Milicevic 77'), Tony Popovic, Kevin Muscat, Jon McKain, Josip Skoko (Simon Colosimo 64'), Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Brett Emerton (Ahmad Elrich 74'), Mile Sterjovski (Archie Thompson 64') Subs Not Used: Michael Petkovic (gk), Tony Vidmar, Luke Wilkshire, Michael Thwaite
Cautions: Moore 52'
Venue: Craven Cottage (Fulham FC), London
Referee: Mike Dean (England)