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Australia coach Verbeek admits "places up for grabs"

A late equaliser from South Africa midfielder Teko Modise saw a see-sawing battle end in a 2-2 draw at Loftus Road in London.

The friendly was Australia's last game of its type before they take to the World Cup 2010 qualifiers and was used to give players extra game time in the national colours and to cohere as a team.

In the 21st minute, South African Siyabonga Nkosi opened the scoring with a shot that did keeper Mark Schwarzer no favours but the lead was short-lived as Derby County striker Mile Sterjovski struck a superb lobbed volley over goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune just four minutes later.

Josh Kennedy then scored his third international goal on 38 minutes with a strong header from a Mark Bresciano free kick, edging the Aussies in front just before half-time.

The long break saw coach Pim Verbeek make a swag of changes and in turn lose control of the match but he wasn't bothered by the fact the Socceroos gave up the lead, remaining positive about upcoming qualifiers.

"I'm very pleased with this game. Overall I'm very pleased with the performance.

"I know most of the players and in the second half brought in some new ones. We played very well in the first half but we were broken in the second.

"My squad needs to be kept fresh at this stage of the season. There are still eleven places up for grabs for our first World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan."

Richard Garcia made his international debut for the Socceroos when he replaced goal scorer Sterjovski in the second half.

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Tribal Football Staff

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