The Caltex Socceroos have shared the spoils for a fourth time in a row after a battling 1-1 draw in chilly Tehran against a tenacious Iraq in Group B of World Cup qualification on Thursday.
On a cold, wet day in the Iranian capital, Iraq had a couple of excellent chances to open the scoring in the first 20 minutes as they settled better than the Australians, who were playing a new formation.
But the green and gold worked their way back into the contest and took a deserved lead via Mat Leckie just before the break.
The excellent Mitch Langerak kept the Aussies in the game after the break until an equaliser with 15 minutes left set up a grandstand finish as both sides pushed for the much-needed win.
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0-1 Australia Mat Leckie 40’
Aaron Mooy’s in-swinging corner found an unmarked Leckie who powered home his header just inside the six-yard box.
1-1 Iraq Ahmad Yaseem 76’
A sweeping move saw Ali Adnan’s perfect low cross beat Langerak and at the far post Yaseem coolly slotted home the equaliser.
Jackson Irvine (AUS)
Mitch Langerak (AUS)
Mohanad Abdulraheem (IRQ)
Milos Degenek (AUS)
60’ Langerak with a brilliant diving save to deny Iraq.
- Australia’s new 3-2-4-1 formation.
- The pitch: hardly international standard
- Mitch Langerak taking the keeper’s gloves from Mat Ryan
All that mattered were three points. For both sides.
In the end, neither got what they wanted.