The Socceroos have secured a much-needed World Cup Qualification victory, defeating Vietnam 4-0 in front of over 27,000 fans in Melbourne.
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Goals from Jamie Maclaren, Tom Rogic, Craig Goodwin and Riley McGree gave the hosts a big boost in the goal difference charts as the Socceroos gear up for another bumper match against Oman.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, as the Aussies had to weather an early second-half storm from Vietnam with the scoreline at 2-0, but a crucial point-blank save from Mat Ryan kept the visitors at bay.
The Socceroos thought they got off to the perfect start, as Tom Rogic had the ball in the back of the net after just 19 seconds.
However, the referee was told to review the goal by VAR and he then rubbed out the goal, deeming Jackson Irvine had impeded Vietnam goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong in an offside position.
A frustrating 30-minute spell had fans fearing the worst, but Jamie Maclaren erased those fears as he buried a header past Truong to open the scoring.
Rogic then had the ball in the net for the second time but this one counted, dinking the ball over an on-rushing Truong in first-half stoppage time.
Super subs Craig Goodwin and Riley McGree put the contest to bed in the second half, with Goodwin latching onto a long ball thumped upfield by Ryan before cooly chipping a finish past Truong for his first goal in Socceroos colours.
McGree got in on the act with a tidy goal of his own set up by Goodwin.
The Socceroos are back in action away to Oman on February 2 as they look to jump back into the automatic qualification spots.
WIZARD OF OZ WAVES HIS WAND IN SCINTILLATING FIRST HALF
It was the Tom Rogic show in the first half as he assisted the opener and scored the second goal himself.
It was a delightful cross whipped in by Rogic that found Jamie Maclaren’s noggin, burying his header past a helpless Bui Tan Truong in goal for Vietnam to open the scoring for the Socceroos.
Rogic then put the ball in the back of the net after winger Mat Leckie threaded a perfect pass between the Vietnam defenders that the Celtic star dinked over the goalkeeper to put the Socceroos two goals ahead.
VAR drama rubs out 19-second opener
Maclaren’s goal wasn’t the first time the Socceroos had the ball in the back of the net, as Rogic himself thought he had scored after a mere 19 seconds.
However, the goal was rubbed out via an intervention from VAR, as Jackson Irvine was deemed to have impeded the goalkeeper’s view of Rogic’s strike from an off-side position.
Mat Leckie had his own chance to edge the Socceroos ahead in the 17th minute, but his header glanced wide of the post.
The home side have also had a few penalty shouts, albeit relatively soft ones, waved away by the referee.
21yo gun handed Socceroos debut
Sydney FC young gun Joel King was handed a Socceroos debut against vietnam.
King becomes Socceroo #615, and is the third player representing the A-League Men’s in the starting line-up alongside Melbourne City forward duo Jamie Maclaren and Mathew Leckie.
The Sydney FC ace got his chance to shine as regular left-back Aziz Behich was left stranded in Turkey due to a blizzard, although Behich will meet up with the squad in Oman.
Australia: Mat Ryan (c); Fran Karacic, Milos Degenek, Trent Sainsbury, Joel King; Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic; Martin Boyle, Jamie Maclaren, Mat Leckie
Vietnam: Bui Tan Truong, Bui Tien Dung, Pham Xuan Manh, Tran Dinh Trong, Do Hung Dung, Vu Van Thanh, Nguyen Quang Hai, Luong Xuan Truong, Le Van Xuan, Phan Van Duc, Pham Tuan Hai