Australia bounced back to their best with a 3-1 away victory over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning AEST).
Josh Kennedy netted a double whilst Luke Wilkshire scored from the penalty spot as the Socceroos turned their disappointing 2-1 win over Thailand on Friday into a positive showing in hot conditions in Dammam against Frank Rijkaard’s men.
Australia dominated most of the 90 minutes of the second match in the third round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup and opened the scoring five minutes before half-time when Kennedy glanced Wilkshire’s cross from the right into the bottom corner with his head.
Just over ten minutes after the restart, Brett Holman cut out a pass from the Saudi midfield and managed to work his way forward before supplying a perfect ball for Kennedy to slot home from close range to make it 2-0.
The Saudis hit back in the 62nd minute when Nasser al Shamrani followed up his penalty, which was initially saved by Mark Schwarzer, to poke home but it was to no avail as the Socceroos were awarded a spot-kick of their own in the 76th minute which Wilkshire expertly dispatched to make it 3-1, allowing the visitors to record a morale-boosting win.
Australia remain on top of the Group D table with six points from two outings as Thailand moved to second with a 3-0 home win over Oman.
Saudi Arabia and Oman take up third and fourth positions after their scoreless draw in Muscat on Friday.