The Socceroos served up an attacking masterclass, romping to an emphatic 5-0 win over a horribly outclassed Bangladesh in their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier at nib Stadium on Thursday night.
In the national team’s first game in Perth in over a decade, the home fans were given a real treat with an eye-catching display which the 173rd-ranked Bengal Tigers simply had no answer to.
The returning Tom Rogic - in his first game in the green and gold for well over a year – and striker Nathan Burns both scored their first Socceroos goals in the rout.
It was 4-0 inside the first 30 minutes as the home side surged out of the blocks to ignite the crowd of 19,495 – the biggest-ever for a football match at the venue.
It’s now two wins from two for Ange Postecoglou’s side on the Road to Russia, ahead of a trip to play Tajikistan next Tuesday night.
The Socceroos boss threw up a selection surprise before kick-off, keeping stand-in skipper Tim Cahill on the bench, with Mark Milligan leading the side from midfield.
Adam Federici started in goal, Bailey Wright got the nod in central defence alongside Matthew Spiranovic, while Aaron Mooy, Rogic and Massimo Luongo were in midfield behind an attacking duo of Burns and Mathew Leckie.
And it was the latter that got the procession underway inside six minutes when he tucked home a precise cut-back from Luongo.
It was a simple finish compared to his howitzer for FC Ingolstadt on the weekend but just as important, Leckie’s first goal for the Socceroos since his maiden strike against Canada in October 2013.
Two minutes later and it was 2-0, this time Tarek Elrich got to the byline and centered to Rogic at the top of the box, the classy playmaker taking one touch to control before lashing a shot past Sahidul Alam.
Even with every player behind the ball, Bangladesh simply couldn’t contain the home side’s pace and movement as they carved out chances at will.
Rogic had his second on 20 minutes after another flowing move, his first-time strike from Jason Davidson’s cross going in by the aid of a big deflection.
With little to do in defence Australia’s fullbacks played almost as wingers and another Davidson cross led to the fourth goal, with Sahidul managing to keep out Leckie’s downward header, only for Burns to sweep home the rebound.
Four goals in just 29 minutes and the Socceroos were flying.
It was more than half an hour before their next goal but it was worth the wait.
Milligan drilled a pass into the feet of Mooy just outside the box, the midfielder turning with his first touch before rifling an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net.
The introduction of Cahill and youngster Chris Ikonomidis soon after brought a huge reception from the Perth fans, with the latter going close to his first international goal soon after with a header that clipped the crossbar.
With seven minutes left another of the second half substitutes Jackson Irvine also hit the woodwork with a header as the home side tried desperately to add to their tally.
But there would be no more goals. Another crucial step towards a fourth straight World Cup is ticked off, but bigger challenges await.
Australia 5 (Leckie 6’, Rogic 8’, 20’, Burns 29’, Mooy 61’)
Crowd: 19,495 @ nib Stadium, Perth
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