Tunisia Inflict Third Defeat On Australia

Tunisia has ensured that the Confederations Cup has turned into a nightmare for Frank Farina and the Socceroos after inflicting a 2-0 defeat on Australia in Leipzig.

Tunisia has ensured that the Confederations Cup has turned into a nightmare for Frank Farina and the Socceroos after inflicting a 2-0 defeat on Australia in Leipzig.

The result means that Australia finish bottom of the group with no points and nothing to show for encouraging performances against Germany and Argentina.

Once again questions will be asked about Australia-s defence, as both goals came from defensive lapses, the second though must be said was a touch unlucky.

Farina decided to start with fresh legs for this game, making five changes to the starting line-up. Trabzonspor keeper Michael Petkovic made his first appearance for the national teams in four years, while also in the line-up came Simon Colosimo, Jon McKain, Jason Culina (pictured above right) and Mark Viduka.

The Viduka, Aloisi combination up front, meant Farina changed the system employed for the past year, going back to a 4-4-2.

The first ten minutes saw Australia start brightly enough, but were not able to create any inroads in the Tunisian defence.

The first shot came via Tunisia in the 11th minute, with Ben Saada testing Petkovic with a long range effort, which the former South Melbourne keeper handled comfortably.

However this seemed to lift the Tunisian-s and they started to play their possession game and win a lot of ball in midfield.

Tunisia thought they had taken the lead in the 23rd minute, when Chadli curled in a free kick from wide on the left that beat everyone in the box and bounced past Petkovic aqt the far post. However is was ruled away, for it was an indirect free kick and needed another touch before going across the line.

However the African champions didn-t have to wait long, just three minutes in fact, for the opening goal and it-s one Petkovic will care to forget in a hurry.

A harmless cross from Trabelsi, looked to have Petkovic-s name written all over it, but just as he was about to catch it, Lucas Neill nudged him, forcing the ball to slip through his hands, where Dos Santos was gratefully waiting and he swept the ball into the empty net.

Tunisia-s confidence was soaring now and they continually had the Australian defence under pressure.

Australia-s first genuine attempt at goal was in the 29th minute, a long range volley from Culina that was well wide, but generally for the half, the attack was listless and given no space by the smothering Tunisian defence.

Tunisian striker Guemamdia should have done better when presented with a chance after 33 minutes but blazed over the bar.

Farina-s plans and experiment to have Scott Chipperfield playing as a fullback was also brought to a premature end ten minutes before the break, when he was forced off with an ankle injury, with Ljubo Milicevic coming on in central defence and Tony Vidmar moving out to the left fullback position.

Australia-s best chance of the half didn-t arrive until deep into first half injury time, when Skoko played a great diagonal ball to Culina on the right, but his shot from a narrowing angle went wide of the near post.

Perhaps that was a sign of things to come in the second half and Farina decided not to continue with Viduka for the second half, making way for Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson.

The move looked a good one and Thompson-s pace and mobility almost caught Tunisia out in the 48th minute, when he beat the offside trap, but the keeper was out quickly to snuff out Skoko-s excellent through ball.

Australia was now enjoying good possession and it was again a Skoko through ball for Thompson that nearly had Australia level, but the keeper again was off his line to divert Thompson-s shot away for a corner.

Cahill made a rather innocuous start after coming on for Skoko just on the hour mark, making a two-footed tackle that earned him a yellow card and luckily not more.

Culina was looking increasingly threatening on the right, first crossing for Aloisi and then supplying a great cross for Cahill and Australia-s best chance of the match. However Cahill-s acrobatic volley on the run went wide and he was made to pay minutes later with Tunisia a second against the run of play.

Again Farina will have been left disappointed with the defence-s loose marking in the area, after a cross-field pass was intercepted by captain Craig Moore, but his touch put the ball straight into the path of a free Dos Santos, who made no mistake with a blistering shot.

Colosimo almost pulled one back for Australia minutes later when his cross caught the Tunisian keeper out, but as luck would have it, it hit the crossbar and bounced away.

Thompson then had a left foot shot go straight to the keeper, before Tunisia shut up shop.

Milicevic had one last chance to score a consolation goal in injury time, but his effort was just wide and summed up Australia-s miserable night.

After the match Farina lamented his team-s ability to give away soft goals, but he still believes he and the team can take positives away from the tournament and that it has been very beneficial on the whole.