Australia have kicked off their 2011 Asian Cup campaign with a fairly comfortable 4-0 win over India in Doha.
The Socceroos were impressive enough, netting three times in the first half through Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Brett Holman before Cahill added a fourth in the second term which was a much more positive 45 minute spell from India.
A crowd made up predominantly of Indian fans cheered and screamed anytime their side got the ball but overall there was little to cheer about as the Australians seemingly did as they pleased. until late in the game when Bob Houghton's side really picked up their performance.
Australia meet fellow tournament favourites South Korea in their next group match on Friday whilst India will try to pick themselves up when they take on Bahrain in their next outing.
2011 Asian Cup – Group C
Australia: 4 (Tim Cahill 11’/65’, Harry Kewell 25’, Brett Holman 45+2’)
Venue: Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Referee: Ali Hamad Al Badwawi (UAE)
Yellow cards: IND - nil
AUS - nil
GOAL It took Australia just 11 minutes to open their account when Brett Emerton was played on-side before advancing down the right and then supplying a low ball into the area where Tim Cahill swept home at full pace at the front post for his 22nd international goal to break down India’s early resistance.
The Socceroos were knocking the ball around at will but were having some trouble with the final ball as the Indian defence picked them off with regularity but it took them a further 14 minutes to add a second.
GOAL Harry Kewell received the ball from Luke Wilkshire about 25 yards out and had plenty of time to pick his spot which he did with precision, swerving it into Subrata Paul’s bottom right corner for his first goal in national team colours since April 2009.
Cahill almost walked the ball into goal in the 31st minute after it fell to him from an attempted Brett Holman shot but Subrata came up with a reflex save right on the goal line to deny the Everton star.
Three minutes later it was Subrata again who came up with a world class save when Cahill volleyed goalward from the edge of the area but the Indian gloveman was able to tip over the bar.
India’s best chance of the half came in the 39th minute when the ‘David Beckham of India’ Steven Dias sent a long range free-kick toward goal but Mark Schwarzer was equal to the task to thwart the opportunity. Apart from that, Bob Houghton’s men were mainly camped in their own third and conceded a third goal in stoppage time of the first half.
GOAL Emerton was found in acres of space deep on the right and had time to measure his cross which was met by Holman at the front post and the AZ Alkmaar man headed home despite the best efforts of an advancing Subrata to make it 3-0.
It was more of the same in the early stages of the second half with the Socceroos pushing forward at every opportunity, coming close on a number of occasions, particularly from Cahill and Emerton prior to the hour-mark but India managed to snuff out any chances for the first 19 minutes.
GOAL Wilkshire’s free-kick from the right flank was played menacingly into the area where Cahill rose above a pack of players to nod home customarily for his second and the Socceroos’ fourth in the 65th minute.
Australia continued to attack but India’s defence was holding firm as complacency set in for the winning side who almost let their opponents in with five minutes remaining when Sunil Chhetri surged forward but in the end Sasa Ognenovski and Schwarzer managed to do enough.
Holger Osieck’s men had a few more minutes to add to their tally but were unable to do so and had to settle for a 4-0 victory over the world’s number 142 ranked side.
Subrata Paul (gk), Anwar Ali, N.P.Pradeep (Wadoo 62’), Sunil Chhetri, Deepak Kumar Mandal, Surkumar Singh, Mohammed Rafi (Yadav 64’), Gouramangi Singh, Climax Lawrence, Syed Rahim Nabi, Steven Dias (Renedy 79’)
Subs - Mehrajuddin Wadoo (62’), Abhishek Yadav (64’), Renedy Singh (79’)
Mark Schwarzer (gk), Lucas Neill, David Carney, Tim Cahill, Jason Culina, Sasa Ognenovski, Brett Emerton (Burns 77’), Luke Wilkshire, Harry Kewell (McDonald 72’), Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak (McKay 62’)
Subs - Matt McKay (62’), Scott McDonald (72’), Nathan Burns (77’)