BRISBANE: Australia’s Jackson Irvine (L) and New Zealand’s Tim Payne vie for the ball during a friendly match at the Suncorp Stadium.—AFP
BRISBANE: Australia’s Jackson Irvine (L) and New Zealand’s Tim Payne vie for the ball during a friendly match at the Suncorp Stadium.—AFP

BRISBANE: A long-range Awer Mabil strike proved the difference as World Cup-bound Australia bid farewell to their fans with an unconvincing 1-0 win over New Zealand in a friendly at Brisbane’s Lang Park on Thursday.

It was Australia’s first match since beating Peru to secure their ticket to Qatar and last at home before heading off for the tournament, where they will face reigning champions France, Tunisia and Denmark in Group ‘D’.

New Zealand, whose own World Cup ambitions were ended in a playoff defeat to Costa Rica in June, frustrated the home side with their aggressive high press and carved out a few chances without reward.

The match was the first leg of a two-game series to celebrate 100 years since Australia played their first international, a 3-1 loss to New Zealand in 1922. The second game will be played in Auckland on Sunday.

Australia will take some concerns to Qatar, after struggling to put away a side ranked well below them.

“I’m far from satisfied with that to be honest,” Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine said. “There’s a lot of things we could have done better. We managed to get a win, but there are a lot of aspects of the game that we can do better. But at the end of the day, a win’s a win and it’s a landmark day for the national team.”

Australia slowly warmed to their task and had a Trent Sainsbury goal disallowed before Mabil broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute with his eighth international goal.

The lively winger received a pass about 30 metres out, cut inside the covering defender and lashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net to the delight of the 25,000 crowd.

Australia’s scoring issues re-emerged in the second half with Riley McGree and Martin Boyle both firing chances over the bar and Mathew Leckie hitting the post when through on goal late on.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Back to politics
Updated 29 Nov, 2022

Back to politics

PDM and PTI must realise that neither will get what they want if they keep fighting bitterly at every turn.
Election delay
29 Nov, 2022

Election delay

OF recent, leaders from the ruling PML-N have been dropping hints about a possible delay in general elections after...
Sugar woes
29 Nov, 2022

Sugar woes

IT’S that time of year again when cane growers get anxious over the delay in the commencement of the new sugar...
1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...