Kyrgyzstan v Australia: 5 things we learnt

The Socceroos have taken their first three points on the road to the World Cup in their opening game in Kyrgyzstan. What did we learn?

Fast start a match for pre-game tough talk

Under Ange Postecoglou the Socceroos have perfected the art of making all the right noises in the lead-up to important fixtures. 

Socceroos win opening World Cup qualifier

This week it was all about embracing the challenge of playing low-profile opponents in unfamiliar and awkward surroundings, with qualifying for the next World Cup - and impressing when they get there - the stated goal. 

The Socceroos starting XI for their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan.

True to their word, Australia were focused and energetic from the referee's first whistle in Bishkek, earning instant reward for that can-do attitude in the form of Mile Jedinak's early opener. 

Credit to Kyrgyzstan for dynamic response

Going behind in the first minute against the Asian Cup winners might have been enough to destroy the morale of the world's 177th-ranked national team, but the hosts were singularly undeterred by conceding. 

If anything, the indignity of picking the ball out the back of their net so soon seemed to rouse Alexander Krestinin's side into launching an onslaught on the visitors' goal. 

Mile Jedinak scores in the opening minute from a free-kick against Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan went on to enjoy much the better of the first 60 minutes, threatening both on the counter attack and from quick, well-constructed moves forward, as the Socceroos' defence and midfield failed repeatedly to settle and stem the tide.

Fleet-footed Zemlianukhin a challenge for Australia – and the referee

Plenty of Kyrgyzstan's talented, industrious forwards caught the eye in Bishkek, where Anton Zemlianukhin in particular caused Ange Postecoglou's visitors problems. 

The 26-year-old, who plays for FK Radnicki Nis in Serbia's SuperLiga, demonstrated excellent control, pace and the courage to try and drive past opponents and straight at goal, even from deep.

The attacking midfielder was only too happy to exaggerate any possible physical contact from covering players, leaving Qatari referee Khamis Al Marri to decide between the real fouls and hopeful instances of simulation. 

As the match wore on Mirlan Murzaev also proved to be a regular menace.

Franjic, Behich have room for improvement

After that fast start and opening goal, it's fair to say very few of Australia's starting XI covered themselves in glory as they struggled to get to grips with the energetic hosts on the uneven park. 

Mathew Ryan and Matthew Spiranovic were the exceptions, the goalkeeper and centre-back playing a big role in somehow keeping the ball out of the Socceroos' net, until letting in a late consolation that should have been chalked off for handball.

Aziz Behich on the ball during the Socceroos' recent friendly with FYR Macedonia.

Fullbacks Ivan Franjic and Aziz Behich in particular endured a torrid match, as Zemlianukhin and Murzaev terrorised Australia from the right and left flank respectively.

It's understandable the two wide defenders weren't up to speed, Franjic having barely played for Torpedo Moscow this season and Behich's campaign having finished weeks ago for Bursaspor. 

However, with Tarek Elrich, Jason Davidson and others eyeing first-team berths, the incumbents will demand better of themselves next time.

Marginalised Oar makes a statement 

Tommy Oar began the Postecoglou era as a certain starter and was a mainstay of the frontline before and during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

He had slipped out of favour by the Asian Cup despite enjoying another strong season for Utrecht. The former Brisbane Roar man was a victim of the switch to a narrower, rotating front three, with Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse preferred as inside forwards alongside Tim Cahill, rather than the out-and-out wing role Australian fans associate Oar with.

Tommy Oar is embraced by James Troisi and Tim Cahill after scoring the Socceroos second goal.

Watchers of the Eredivisie will know the 23-year-old is more versatile than many give him credit for, having spent plenty of time in the centre for his former club. 

Regardless of where he is deployed, the free agent offered a timely reminder to Postecoglou and any watching suitors of his undeniable qualities – pace, directness and finishing. 

Barring injury, he will be disappointed not to start against Bangladesh in September.