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Melbourne: Australia will have to take the long road to Russia despite a hard-fought 2-1 win over Thailand in Group B of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday.

The hosts dominated the match from the get go and were unlucky not to take a lead into half time after Aaron Mooy and Tim Cahill both had shots hit the woodwork.

Tom Rogic also saw a shot cannon off the post in the 68th minute, but just a minute later Australia took the lead when a perfect cross from Mooy was headed home by Tomi Juric.

The stadium was silenced just over ten minutes from full time when Pokklaw Anan pulled the visitors level, but Mathew Leckie’s goal four minutes later secured all three points for the Socceroos to put them temporarily into second place in the standings.

But after Saudi Arabia’s 1-0 win over Japan later in the day, Australia were relegated back to third in Group B and will now meet Syria in a two-legged play-off next month to determine which country qualifies for the intercontinental play-off against the fourth ranked team from CONCACAF.


Photo: Lagardère Sports