Chipperfield heads Australia to vital three points

Publié le par FFA Australia

Australia has kicked off its fourth and final stage of FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifying in the perfect fashion with a massive 1-0 win over Uzbekistan at the Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent.
Scott Chipperfield transferred his club goal scoring form to the national team with the only goal after 26 minutes, heading home a Luke Wilkshire cross.
It was a terrific performance by Australia, who defended superbly, especially in the first 20 minutes after the break, where Uzbekistan put enormous pressure on Australia, in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
"Away, Uzbekistan, 3 points, fantastic," was Qantas Socceroos coach, Pim Verbeek's assessment of the performance.
"The boys did a fantastic job. The whole team put in a great performance, and it's a great start to win away in Uzbekistan.
"They showed commitment and worked hard for each other."
The win gives Australia a full three points on its first match of this round. The other four teams in the group all kicked-off their campaign last weekend, when Australia had a bye.
Verbeek’s plans though before the match were thrown into turmoil, when Jason Culina and Jade North were ruled out of contention because of a stomach bug, that forced them to remain at the team hotel, with Jacob Burns coming into the line-up for Culina. Verbeek also made two other changes from the starting side that beat the Netherlands four days ago, with Scott Chipperfield coming in for David Carney and somewhat surprisingly, Mark Bresciano coming in for Josh Kennedy.
After a cautious start by both sides in the first 10 minutes, the game started to liven up with several shots from both sides getting the crowd into the match.
The first decent chance came to Brett Emerton after 17 minutes, when he linked with Chipperfield and his first time shot was just over the bar.
With Australia’s defence looking strong, despite a few anxious moments from a couple of dangerous balls into the penalty box, it was Australia that looked the more composed going forward and they duly took the lead after 26 minutes via Australia’s two fullbacks.
Wilkshire played a good one-two with Harry Kewell on the right; then getting past his opposite fullback, he whipped over a great cross, where left fullback Chipperfield came in, heading the ball down and past the Uzbeki keeper.
Mark Bresciano should have added a second goal on the stroke of half time, that almost certainly would have killed the game off. Kewell and Holman combined, the latter sending Bresciano through, but the Palermo striker, with only the keeper to beat, went for power over placement and his strike went inches wide of the post.
After the break though, Uzbekistan threw everything they had at the Australian rear-guard, who despite being under enormous pressure, kept their shape and remained calm.
Uzbekistan thought they had claims for a penalty five minutes in when captain Maksim Shatskikh went down in the box, but the referee waved away the appeals.
Three minutes later Wilkshire cleared a Hasanov shot from 20 metres off his line, while on the hour, Shatskikh managed to get free in box, but his shot ended up being easy for Mark Schwarzer.
That seemed to sap the Uzbek’s confidence as the pressure from the home side fell away and Australia again took control of the midfield, keeping possession and forcing the Uzbek players into lots of fouls.
Australia had a great chance on the counter with 15 minutes to go, when Kewell fed Holman, who in turn tried to release Carney in the box, but good defensive work, saw Carney’s attempted return pass to Holman touched to the keeper.
Uzbekistan tried a late rally and Shatskikh was inches away from getting a connection to a flick on with just a minute to go in injury time; there last chance of grabbing at least a share of the spoils.
Australia has another seven games to play in this fourth round of qualification, with the next match to take place against Qatar in Brisbane on 15 October.

Publié dans Selections

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