Qantas Socceroos celebrate with solid win over Bahrain

The Qantas Socceroos have celebrated their second successive FIFA World Cup appearance with a hard fought 2-0 win over Bahrain at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night.

The Qantas Socceroos have celebrated their second successive FIFA World Cup appearance with a hard fought 2-0 win over Bahrain at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night.

In frosty conditions at the venue of Australia-s most famous FIFA World Cup qualifying success, the home side were stoic and disciplined but effective when needed and justifiably claimed all three points thanks to Mile Sterjovski and David Carney-s second half strikes.

39,540 braved the winter cold in Sydney-s west and would have walked away contented with another example of the typically professional performances the Qantas Socceroos have become renowned for.

Versatile Dynamo Moscow player Luke Wilkshire headlined a seven-strong contingent of new faces in Australia-s starting eleven, which was weakened by the absence of lynchpin squad members Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill and Lucas Neill.

Brett Holman-s snap on goal from distance after ten minutes was Australia-s first sight on goal, though Bahraini custodian Sayed Mohammed Jaffer saved comfortably.

The best chance of the first half for either side would soon fall to Scott McDonald.

McDonald, in the Qantas Socceroos- starting side at the expense of injured marksman Josh Kennedy, hurriedly blazed over from the fringe of the penalty area with the goal at his mercy.

The Celtic striker was put through on goal by Holman, who in his first start since February-s stalemate against Japan in Yokohama was among Australia-s best throughout a fairly tame opening stanza where the home side largely struggled to break down their stubborn opponents.

Notably energised and refreshed after the break, Australia loomed as the most likely to open scoring after the resumption and duly did so on 55 minutes from the boot of Sterjovski.

Carney instigated the move from just inside Australia-s attacking half, where he slipped a pass to fellow left-winger Harry Kewell, whose first time touch found Sterjovski after Bahrain defender Faouzi Aaish made a hash of his clearance.

The Derby County attacker made no mistake from close range in hooking home an accurate left footed strike on the volley - his eighth goal in green and gold and first of Australia-s march towards South Africa.

Bahrain-s position was now one of desperation, with the visitors yearning for a share of the spoils to ensure third place in Group A and subsequent progression to the next stage of qualification in Asia.

Consequently, the match opened up considerably and the increasingly dominant Qantas Socceroos enjoyed far greater freedom and were able to showcase their talents.

Kewell was a standout going forward and were it not for some perhaps wasteful finishing and lamentable decision making in the final third, Australia could well have extended their advantage prior to Carney-s match sealer.

Carney was again key to the build up of a movement that he would finish with aplomb, but not before Jason Culina-s outstanding overhead kick crashed off the upright and into his path.

Culina - bound for Hyundai A-League expansion club Gold Coast United in 2009/10 - was as ever one of Australia-s strongest performers and deserved much of the credit for Carney-s goal in light of what was a truly spectacular effort.

At the full time whistle, Australia could reflect on a diligent showing that keeps them in pole position to claim top spot in Group A ahead of next Wednesday-s all-star finale against fellow regional powerhouses Japan.

Match Details

Australia 2 (Mile Sterjovski 55', David Carney 88') Bahrain 0

Australian line-up: 1. Mark Schwarzer (gk), 2. Mark Milligan, 3. David Carney, 5. Jason Culina, 6. Chris Coyne (15. Jade North 73-), 7. Mile Jedinak (13. Vince Grella 63-), 8. Luke Wilkshire, 10. Harry Kewell (c), 14. Brett Holman (11. Nick Carle 84-), 16. Mile Sterjovski, 17. Scott McDonald

Unused Subs:- 4. Jacob Burns, 9. Bruce Djite, 12. Michael Petkovic (gk), 18. Shane Steffanuto

Yellow Cards: Jedinak 34-, Milligan 63-, Wilkshire 89- Red Cards: None

Bahrain line-up: 1. Sayed Mohammed Jaffer (gk), 2. Abdulla Abdi Omar (4. Ahmed Hassan 87-), 3. Abdulla Al Marzooqi, 7. Mohammed Hubail, 8. Jaycee John, 10. Mohammed Salmeen (c), 12. Fouzi Ayesh (11. Ismaeel Latif 76-), 13. Mahmood Abdulrahman, 14. Salman Isa (16. Abdulwahab 90-+2), 15. Abdulla Omar, 17. Hussain Ali Baba

Unused Subs: 5. Abdulla Aldakeel, 6. Dawood, 9. Sayed Ali, 18. Abbas Khamis (gk)

Yellow Cards: Aaish 69- Red Cards: None

Referee Abdullah Mohamed Al Hilali (Oman) Crowd 39,540