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MD2 - Group B: Kuwait 0-3 Australia

Kuwait City: Australia opened their Asian Qualifiers Group B campaign for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 with an emphatic 3-0 win over Kuwait at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium on Tuesday. 

Kuwait came into the game on a high following their 7-0 humbling of Nepal at the same ground five days earlier, but Romeo Jozak’s men were brought back down to earth quickly as the visitors got off to a flying start.

Seven minutes were all that Australia needed to move in front through Mathew Leckie. The Kuwaiti defence failed to deal with an Aaron Mooy in-swinging corner and Jackson Irvine fumbled his shot on the rebound, but the ball found its way to Leckie who stabbed it home from inside the six-yard box.

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Skipper Leckie doubled the Socceroos’ lead just before the half-hour mark in an identical manner. Another Mooy corner kick was headed by Irvine and again Leckie was perfectly positioned to sweep home from point-blank.

Mooy heaped more misery on Romeo Jozak’s side, adding a third Australian goal in the 37th minute. Kuwaiti goalkeeper Sulaiman Abdulghafoor spilled the ball as he attempted to catch Rhyan Grant’s cross, and it fell to Adam Taggart who set up Mooy at the edge of the box and the Brighton midfielder placed his shot into the top corner to make it 3-0.

Content with their lead, Australia retreated after the restart, dominating possession, but posing little threat on Abdulghafoor’s goal.

The hosts had a golden chance to reduce the margin after Trent Sainsbury miscued his attempt to clear a long ball and the ball ended up falling to Yousef Nasser, who struck on the half-volley, but goalkeeper Matthew Ryan showed great flexibility, making a flying save at the hour mark.

The result means Australia join Jordan, Kuwait and Nepal on three points each.

The Socceroos host Nepal on October 10th, while Kuwait travel to Jordan.

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