Australia has one foot on South African soil

The Socceroos are almost certain to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after defeating Uzbekistan 2-0 in Sydney.

The Socceroos are almost certain to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after defeating Uzbekistan 2-0 in Sydney.

Second-half goals from Josh Kennedy and Harry Kewell did the damage for Pim Verbeek’s charges and only one more point from three matches will see them in line for a second consecutive World Cup.

In wet and windy conditions at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, the Australians had a majority of possessions in the first half but it did not amount to anything fruitful.

Scott McDonald had the first chance of the match in the 4th minute but he held on to the ball for too long and his shot did not have enough power to beat Uzbek keeper Iganity Nesterov

Uzbekistan’s best chance of the first half came five minutes later when last start hat-trick hero Farhod Tadjiyev received a through ball on the edge of the area but put his shot across the Australian goal.

In the 15th minute, McDonald played a lovely ball to Mark Bresciano after a mix up in the Uzbek defence but the Palermo midfielder could only pick out the keeper from close range; an inch either side and it would have been in the back of the net.

For the remainder of the half, both sides could not muster much in attack and apart from a yellow card to each team there was little other action.

After the re-start, Jason Culina came agonisingly close to the opener when he tried his luck from long range only to have his swerving shot tipped over the bar by Nesterov.

In the 66th minute, Bresciano took a run down the right side and whipped it in to substitute Josh Kennedy who met it with a sweet header to put the home side ahead to rapturous applause from the Sydney crowd.

in the 72nd minute, Richard Garcia was played through and bought down in the box by Uzbekistan defender Hayrulla Karimov.

The referee pointed to the spot and gave Australia the chance to double their lead.

Harry Kewell stepped up and smashed it to Nesterov’s left and despite picking the right way, could not keep out the spot kick.

A late consolation goal for Uzbekistan was ruled out as the striker was off-side and ensured that Australia kept their charmed run in the qualifying stage of no goals conceded.

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