Socceroos sunk by a Chinese stunner

A stunning strike from Chinese defender Sun Xiang has consigned the Socceroos to a 1-0 loss in the final World Cup qualification group match of the third round.

A stunning strike from Chinese defender Sun Xiang has consigned the Socceroos to a 1-0 loss in the final World Cup qualification group match of the third round.

Xiang stunning shot from 20 metres rocketed into the back of the net after just 12 minutes and despite a spirited effort, the young Australian team was unable to manage an equaliser.

Despite the loss, Australia will still finish top of its group, unless there is a massive blowout for either Iraq or Qatar in their crunch match in Dubai later tonight.

The win was China-s first and only win of the qualifying series, but still saw them finish bottom of the group.

Xiang-s strike was the only real highlight of the match, although China should have wrapped up the win in the last quarter of an hour when Zheng Zhi missed, at his second attempt, from the penalty spot.

Australia-s young side tried hard, but the finishing touch just wasn-t there on a slippery and bumpy surface and only once did they actually test the Chinese keeper.

After a cagey opening devoid of any real attacking threats, the opening goal came somewhat unexpectedly, but in devastating fashion after 12 minutes.

A dangerous cross was only cleared as far as Xiang standing 25 metres out, he took one touch before crashing a superb curling shot past a desperate Michael Petkovic at full stretch.

The first chance for the Australia came after 20 minutes when Bruce Djite was just inches away from a Harry Kewell cross with the goal beckoning.

A nervy moment followed soon after when Petkovic could do little but to pick up a short pass from debutant Ruben Zadkovich, but from the free kick, Australia managed to clear.

This started a good period for the home side, as Mile Jedinak went close with a 12-yard header, while a terrific run by James Troisi went unrewarded when his cross was cleared at the near post.

The closest Australia came though was near the end of the half when first Carl Valeri stung the hands of the Chinese keeper with a 20 metre drive and shortly afterwards, Djite was just over the bar with a volley, after Kewell chested down intelligently for him on the edge of the box.

After a Valeri volley was struck wide in the 53rd minute, Qu Bo hit a shot well over from a good position.

Wang Dong saw his cross hit the crossbar as China looked to play on the counter, but within seconds Djite had half a chance when he tried to skip past his marker, who did just enough to force the Australians shot over the bar.

Australia were now dominating possession and getting a few sniffs, but the lack of a killer instinct in the goalmouth was certainly hurting.

With 15 minutes to go, Zadkovich-s debut turned sour when he was adjudged to have brought down Gao Lin in the box.

Zheng Zhi was successful with his first spot kick, but the referee ordered the kick to be re-taken and Zhi tamely shot past the post, with Petkovic rooted to the spot.

Australia pressed hard but were unable to breakthrough the stubborn Chinese defence and in the end lost their first World Cup qualifying match at home in over 27 years.

The match also saw David Williams make his debut for the Socceroos, coming on as a second half substitute and he looked lively on occasions.

Match Details

Australia 0 China 1

Australian line-up: Michael Petkovic (gk); Nikolai Topor Stanley, Matthew Spiranovic, Jade North, Ruben Zadkovich, Mile Jedinak (Neil Kilkenny 79-), Carl Valeri, James Troisi (Kristian Sarkies 82-), James Holland (David Williams 63-), Harry Kewell, Bruce Djite Subs from: Ante Covic (gk); Stuart Musialik, Rod Vargas

Cautions: Nil

Crowd: 70,054