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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Socceroos win

It was a sense of déjà vu for the Qatari fans on Wednesday, as their national team went down again in front of Australia in the final round of the 2010 world cup qualifiers (Asian Zone).

It was Qatar's first game under their new French Coach Bruno Metsu, but it took the same scenario of the teams' last two meetings earlier in the qualifiers, in which Australia came out with easy victories, 3-0 in Melbourne and 3-1 in Doha.

This time the Qatari performance was even poorer as they were behind after just nine minutes when Brett Emerton sent a high cross from the right which the Qatari defenders were unable to clear, and the ball reached the completely unmarked Tim Cahill inside the area who scored easily.

Eight minutes later Emerton doubled the score from the penalty spot after a dumb foul by defender Abdullah Kone on Cahill.

Qatar performed better by the end of the first half and just after the break but they failed to capitalize on their chances, and another crucial mistake in the 59th minute from Kone near the area allowed Josh Kennedy to send a nice pass to Emerton inside the area, and the Blackburn man made no mistake sending a low shot past the goalkeeper Abdulaziz Ali.

A free header from Kennedy completed Australia's easy win in the 76th minute after another great cross from Emerton.

In the other group one game, Uzbekistan snatched a vital point from Japan in Saitama, Dynamo Kiev veteran striker Maksim Shatskikh put the visitors ahead in the 27th minute, but Keiji Tamada saved the day for the home team in the 40th minute.

These results sent Australia to the top of group one with 6 points, two points head of both Japan and Qatar.

After just three rounds of the qualifying final stage, the race is still open for all the teams to get a place in South Africa, as the top two teams making it directly to the finals and the third placed team getting a chance to qualify through a playoff

But Australia's performances against Uzbekistan and Qatar suggest that the Socceroos will easily qualify as top of the group if they can continue with their current form, while the rest will battle for the other two spots.

The next round of matches is scheduled for November 19th, Qatar will host Japan in Doha, while Bahrain take on Australia in Manama.