The Caltex Socceroos have defeated Thailand 2-1 in their final Group B World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night, putting the pressure back on Saudi Arabia as automatic qualification to Russia 2018 reaches a thrilling climax.
With six changes made to the starting XI against Japan last week, and captained by national team legend Tim Cahill, there was a sense of urgency from the start on a cool night in Melbourne.
But the Thais rode their luck and defended desperately, while pint-size attacker Chanathip Songkrasin was a constant threat to Mat Ryan’s goal.
But they could only hold out for so long as the desperate Aussies pressed for as many goals as they could.
Australia will now hope Japan can do them a favour by winning or drawing in Jeddah overnight against the Saudis. If the Saudis win they'll progress as one of the two automatic qualifiers.
STORY OF THE GAME
• Australia hit the post three times as they peppered the Thai goal with raid after raid.
• The Thai game plan was to defend in numbers, stay compact but try to hit on the break with their fast and tricky forwards, in particular the classy “Thai Messi” Chanathip Songkrasin.
• Just before the break Tomi Juric missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, smashing his shot just wide.
• It was 0-0 at the break but within minutes of the restart the Thais had a strong penalty shout waved away after a challenge by Trent Sainsbury.
• But three late goals ensured there was plenty of drama with the Aussies scoring twice in the final 20 minutes to cancel out plucky Thailand's effort.
Socceroos 1-0 Juric 69’
Aaron Mooy with plenty of time to measure his in-swinging cross from the left and Juric was first to it to guide the ball home
Thailand 1-1 A-Nan 82’
Australia were opened up down their right, and Notechaiya’s cutback from A-Nan who buried his first time shot.
Socceroos 2-1 Leckie 86’
After a corner wasn’t deal with, Leckie was first to a loose ball in the box to bury it home.
Aussies Abroad weekend wrap: Ryan stars in Premier League giant-killing
Two Manchester giants stood in the way of our Australians in Premier League action overnight. Read on to see how they went, and for a comprehensive weekend wrap of our overseas Australians! ARZANI: How will he be used by the Scottish champions? MILLIGAN: Aussie veteran j
Aussies Abroad: Rogic shines, debut for Caltex Socceroos defender
This week may have seen Daniel Arzani dominate headlines on Australian soil following his highly-anticipated move to the Scottish champions, but it was Caltex Socceroos teammate Tom Rogic who stole the show for Celtic yesterday evening (AEST). Meanwhile, it was a difficult mor
Caltex Socceroos veteran unites with Maclaren at Hibernian
Hibernian have signed Caltex Socceroos veteran Mark Milligan on a two-year deal, subject to securing a work permit. The 33-year-old was most recently on the books of Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia and will now link up with national team colleague Jamie Maclaren at the Scottish outfit
We showcase the best kits worn by Aussies Abroad this season
Clubs are well and truly stepping up their kit game as we enter the new season. An attractive strip can unite - or divide - fans across the globe, from England's Premier League to the German third tier. ARZANI: How will he be used by the Scottish champions? AUSSIES ABROA