Socceroos earn fighting draw

The Socceroos have kicked off their AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw against Indonesia, in a hot and humid Jakarta tonight.

The Socceroos have kicked off their AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw against Indonesia, in a hot and humid Jakarta tonight.

In what was a fairly scrappy a game, void of real clear cut chances, the point earned was a valuable one, especially when you consider that nine players made their senior international debut for Australia.

The all Hyundai A-League squad, led superbly by captain Craig Moore, maintained its composure throughout in the difficult conditions, not helped by a heavy and bumpy pitch, which made short-passing difficult.

Australia-s best chance of the match came from a free kick taken by Adelaide United-s Paul Reid, his curling shot going just wide of the top corner with 20 minutes remaining.

Central Coast-s Matt Simon did get the ball in the back of the net with 13 minutes remaining, with a neat header, but he was well offside.

Indonesia had a couple of chances either side of the break, but Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic was for the most part rarely troubled by any shots at goal.

As expected Australia tried to slow play down as much as possible from the start to conserve energy in the sapping conditions and with Indonesia sitting back and waiting for Australia to attack, it was a fairly tepid first half.

The first chance of the match came in the 8th minute, a 25 metre strike by Hariano hit straight to Eugene Galekovic.

Budi Sudarsano had another half chance for the home side five minutes later that he put well over the bar The best chance of the half fell to Indonesia striker Talaohu Mashafry in the 35th minute, when he was quickly played through into the box, but he pulled his shot across the face of goal.

Australia, while dominating possession, found the pitch conditions tough going and generally struggled to get much rhythm with their passing game, especially in attack.

Best chance came right on half time, when a deep free kick from Matt McKay, found Dean Heffernan at the back post, but he wasn't able to get a good touch and the ball rolled comfortably to the keeper.

Danny Allsopp had one shot from distance that saw the keeper fumble after 16 minutes.

The game opened up much more in the second half with Indonesia more aggressive in attack for the first 20-25 minutes after the break.

Sudarsono had a great chance to head his team into the lead in the 62nd minute, but mistimed his leap and the ball fell nicely for Galekovic.

Australia almost had the lead when Archie Thompson's shot was spilled by Markus, with first Matt Simon and then Dean Heffernan, just inches away from getting the rebound, as Markus scrambled to re-gather.

Reid went close to a winner with his free kick and then Simon saw his effort ruled out for offside and that pretty saw the end to any chances, as the match petered out.

Australia-s next Asian Cup qualification match is on March 5 against Kuwait in Canberra, although the Socceroos will be in action in two weeks time (February 11) for a decisive World Cup qualifier against Japan in Yokohama.

Match Details

Indonesia 0 Socceroos 0

Australian line-up: Eugene Galekovic (gk), Craig Moore (c), Rody Vargas, Dean Heffernan (Michael Zullo 78-), Scott Jamieson, Matt McKay, Paul Reid, Tom Pondeljak (Billy Celeski 68-), Matt Thompson, Danny Allsopp (Matt Simon 57-), Archie Thompson. Subs not used; Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tarek Elrich, Dylan Macallister, Danny Vukovic (GK).

Cautions: Jamieson (76-), Simon (92-)