[QODLink]
Football
Socceroos sucker punch Saudi Arabia out
Group winners Australia score three goals in quick succession to end Saudi Arabia's World Cup ambitions.
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 18:18
Saudi Arabia are knocked out after qualification match with Australia who came alive after the break [GALLO/GETTY] 

Australia scored three goals in four minutes in a stunning second-half burst to beat Saudi Arabia 4-2 on Wednesday to dash their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Saudis took a 2-1 lead in the Group D clash at the AAMI stadium with first-half efforts from midfielder Salem Aldawsari and striker Nassir Al Shamrani.

The group winners then hit back in spectacular fashion with goals from Harry Kewell (73 minutes), Alex Brosque (75) and Brett Emerton (76) as they ended up with 15 points from six games.

"It's really sad of course, a big blow. We were full of hope and wanted to fight for our chance and we did but we didn't succeed"

Saudi coach Frank Rijkaard

The Saudis, on six points, needed victory to reach the fourth round of Asian qualifying but defeat meant Oman (eight points) went through thanks to a 2-0 win over Thailand on Wednesday.

The triple Asian champions finished fatigued and demoralised on a drizzly night as they failed to progress to the World Cup finals for the second edition running, having gone through to the four previous tournaments from 1994-2006.

"If we had a little bit more courage and had stayed true to our game maybe it would have been different," gloomy Saudi coach Frank Rijkaard told reporters as he sat next to a team official who was cradling his head in his hands.

"It's really sad of course, a big blow. We were full of hope and wanted to fight for our chance and we did but we didn't
succeed," the Dutchman said.

Australia initially struggled to adapt to a new attacking set-up but two-goal Brosque and strike partner Kewell combined well with midfield generals Mark Bresciano and Emerton in the second period.

'Excellent football'

Bresciano was outstanding and he set up Brosque's first goal in the 43rd minute and Emerton's late strike with two delightful through balls.

"I think in the second half we really got our stuff together. We played excellent football, we played the football I really like to see," said coach Holger Osieck.

"There was a lot of imagination, creativity... I'm very encouraged by this performance," the German said.

The Saudis started the game well and struck the first blow in the 19th minute.

Aldawsari sidestepped defender Mark Milligan and wrong-footed Bresciano before unleashing a blistering 25-metre drive that beat keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Playing in front of a crowd of 24,000, Australia responded through Brosque who ran on to a deft pass from Bresciano to poke the ball beyond keeper Waleed Ali.

The Saudis went back in front in first-half stoppage time when Hassan Fallatah crossed for unmarked striker Al Shamrani to convert.

Al Shamrani had a chance to make it 3-1 in the 72nd minute but produced a poor finish.

The floodgates opened a minute later as Brosque set up Kewell who drilled the ball low into the net.

Emerton then crossed from the right to create Brosque's second goal before Bresciano put the icing on the cake by laying on the fourth goal for Emerton.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
join our mailing list