Leckie, Nabbout star as Caltex Socceroos crush Czech Republic
Andrew Nabbout's first international goal and a Mathew Leckie brace gave the Caltex Socceroos a convincing 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in a pre-FIFA World Cup friendly in Austria.
In just his third appearance, 25-year-old Nabbout fired in a brilliant 54th-minute finish as Australia cruised to a morale-boosting maiden victory under Bert van Marwijk, and inflicted the Czech Republic’s biggest ever defeat in international football.
His strike came in between a classy Mathew Leckie brace, the dynamic winger improving his tally to eight goals in green and gold.
And there was still time for substitute Milos Degenek to force an own goal off Jakub Jugas to put the seal on a one-sided encounter at the NV Arena.
Though van Marwijk dismissed the importance of the result in his pre-match comments, the Dutchman will surely be pleased with several aspects of an encouraging performance just over two weeks out from the Group C opener against France.
Led impressively by first-time captain Trent Sainsbury, Australia managed to withstand some early pressure and never looked back after Leckie's opener, which came courtesy of a smart Robbie Kruse cut-back.
Urawa Diamonds man Nabbout, starting as a centre-forward, and Hertha Berlin flyer Leckie then put the win beyond doubt before Jugas' own goal completed the scoring.
Van Marwijk, who gave second-half opportunities to Jamie Maclaren and debutant Daniel Arzani, will be hoping for more of the same when his side meet Hungary early Sunday, June 10 (AEST) in a final pre-tournament friendly.
STORY OF THE GAME
- 5' CHANCE: Sainsbury's brilliant sliding challenge takes the ball off Jan Kopic's toe just as he looks to pull the trigger.
- 14' CHANCE: Kopic threatens again on the counter-attack, but a quick-thinking Mat Ryan is out to smother the finish.
- 21' MISS: Antonin Barak fires over at close-range after a bouncing ball dropped kindly.
- 32' GOAL! Leckie the beneficiary as a fine Caltex Socceroos move breaks the deadlock.
- 34' CHANCE: Leckie and Kruse combine to tee up Rogic, whose difficult volley is safely held by Tomas Koubek.
- 37' SHOT: Australia are getting on top as Aaron Mooy draws a low parry from Koubek.
- 54' GOAL! Nabbout drills a sublime finish into the bottom corner to extend the Caltex Socceroos' lead.
- 72' GOAL! Leckie snaps a period of inactivity by classily capping off Mooy's superb work.
- 77' MISS: Filip Novak somehow volleys over from a ball dropped into the box.
- 80' GOAL: An unfortunate moment for Jugas sees Australia stretch the margin to a rout.
1-0: Mathew Leckie - Australia (32')
Rogic spots Josh Risdon overlapping on the right. The full-back's first-time cross finds Robbie Kruse and is turned back across goal for Leckie to tap home.
2-0: Andrew Nabbout - Australia (54')
It's all about Nabbout as he breaks into the area, twists Tomas Kalas in and out before firing low and hard into the bottom far corner.
3-0: Mathew Leckie - Australia (72')
Aaron Mooy wins the ball and midfield and spreads it to Leckie, who bursts into the area, turns back onto his left and beats Koubek inside the near post.
4-0: Jakob Jugas OG - Australia (80')
Milos Degenek's low cross takes a thick deflection off debutant Jugas to wrong-foot Koubek.