Ange Postecoglou was relieved the Socceroos got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start in Kyrgyzstan and hailed the performance of his second half substitute Tommy Oar.
The Socceroos weren’t at their fluent best but did enough to hold off a plucky but profligate Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in Bishkek on Wednesday morning (AEST).
Despite going ahead after just one minute through skipper Mile Jedinak’s free-kick, the Socceroos were forced to absorb loads of pressure from the home side.
It wasn’t until substitute Tommy Oar scored a superb goal midway through the second half that the result looked assured.
The Socceroos were expected to make light work of the 177th-ranked Kyrgyzstan but Postecoglou says he wasn’t surprised his side was pushed all the way.
“We expected a tough game…in these conditions and with the crowd behind them they can play,” he told Fox Sports .
“There aren’t many nations in the world these days that can’t play and we knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew we had to get on top early, luckily we got the goal and I think we just tried to force it too much after that.
“Maybe we thought things would come a lot easier it will be a great experience for everyone involved and we’ll grow from it.”
The Socceroos seemed flat and struggled on the bumpy Dolen Omurzakov Stadium but battled brilliantly to get the result.
Only a stoppage time goal from Almazbek Mirzaliev – despite an obvious hand-ball – ensured a nervy last few minutes in a raucous atmosphere.
“I thought the crowd here was fantastic and they got a lot of energy from that,” Postecoglou said.
“We got a little bit at times anxious to get forward, and gave the ball away cheaply which allowed them to counter attack on us.
“It was a great experience for the players. This is what the World Cup qualifying process is about.
“I thought Tommy Oar when he came on was really good for us. He was really bright, he went at them and that was probably what we were missing a little bit in the first half.
“He scored a good goal to so full credit to him.”