Maty Ryan's Brighton and Jackson Irvine's Hull City are on their rise as both teams continued their red-hot form in England.
Ryan was barely troubled as Brighton & Hove Albion breezed past Norwich City, 2-0, in their third straight AMEX Stadium win and climbed to eighth place in the Premier League.
The Canaries did have the Caltex Socceroos number one worried when Marco Stiepermann’s 10th-minute effort cracked against the Seagulls’ crossbar.
But Graham Potters’ side made their first-half dominance count after the break when Belgian substitute Leandro Trossard scored with a deft flick and then turned provided for fellow replacement Shane Duffy to make it two late on.
The scoreline could have been bigger had French striker Neal Maupay not missed a series of gilt-edge chances, while Ryan did not make a single save as Aaron Mooy stayed on the bench after his return from a one-match suspension.
In the Championship, Irvine recorded an assist as the Tigers powered to their third straight victory in a 3-0 away win against high-flying Fulham.
The visitors recorded only 25% possession but punished the home side at Craven Cottage when Josh Bowler converted a cross from Aussie left-back Callum Elder on 9 minutes.
Irvine’s measured pass found Jarrod Bowen to rifle in his 10th goal of the season after half-time and substitute Tom Eaves scuffed in a third in the closing stages.
Manager Grant McCann believes Hull showed they are genuine promotion contenders after their third straight league win takes them up to 11th in the Championship ladder.
"I've always had belief, but it's probably taken time for everybody at the football club to believe that we can challenge for the top six,” said McCann.
“We shouldn't hide away from it. That is what our aim is.”
Watch Hull boss McCann and Caltex Socceroos midfielder Irvine give their reactions below
In League One, Harry Souttar’s Fleetwood Town suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of bottom of the table Bolton Wanderers.
Mark Milligan played 78 minutes in Southend United’s 1-0 reverse against Sunderland, while Bailey Wright was a substitute in Bristol City’s 2-2 Championship draw at Barnsley on Saturday morning AEDT.
Rogic powers past Boyle into Scottish League Cup Final
Tom Rogic and Celtic celebrated a 5-2 victory over Martin Boyle’s Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup semi final at Easter Road.
Rogic has lifted the trophy in the past three seasons with the Hoops and his side shot out to a strong lead through Mohamed Elyounoussi and Callum McGregor’s goals.
Melker Hallberg got one back for Hibs but Elyounoussi made it 3-1 at half-time. Scott Brown extended the lead before Florian Kamberi hit back and Boyle, who is recovering from a three-month injury layoff, was introduced on 76 minutes.
Rogic was replaced on 79 minutes after a commanding midfield display and captain Brown had the final word, making it 5-2, as the clock ticked past 90.
Celtic could be set for an Auld Firm derby in the final in November if Steven Gerrard’s Rangers can beat Hearts on the other side of the draw.
Apostolos Giannou could not help AEK Larnaca break the deadlock in Cyprus and his side were held to a 0-0 away draw against Apoel Nicosia.
Brandon Borrello made a two-minute cameo in Freiburg SC’s 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen in Germany, while Matthew Leckie remained on the bench as Union Berlin won the Bundesliga’s first Berlin Derby in 44 years 1-0 against Hertha.
Milos Degenek was given a rest as Red Star Belgrade won their seventh straight Serbian SuperLiga match, 2-0 at Proleter Novi Sad, and Aziz Behich was an unused sub in İstanbul Başakşehir’s goalless draw at Alanyaspor in Turkey.
Goodwin strikes in Saudi Arabia
Craig Goodwin scored a penalty as Al-Wehda slipped to a dramatic 3-2 defeat against Al-Raed in the Saudi Pro League.
Goodwin’s second goal since joining the Knights of Mecca put the visitors into a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining after Anselmo had cancelled out Jalal Daoudi’s opener.
But stoppage time strikes from Daoudi and Raed Al-Ghamdi clinched an unlikely late turnaround to leave the sixth-place Red Giant empty handed at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium.
Elsewhere in Asia, Adam Taggart came on as half-time substitute but Suwon Bluewings were held to a 0-0 K-League draw against Seongnam at Big Bird Stadium in the Korea Republic.
In Japan, Mitchell Langerak’s Nagoya Grampus Eight went down 3-0 on the road against Consadole Sapporo. The Caltex Socceroo goalkeeper’s side sit three points about the J-League relegation zone with four games left to play.
NEWS: Joeys advance to knockout phase at FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019
AUSSIES ABROAD: Smith in MLS Cup final as Sounders stun LAFC