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Australia remain on top with tough win over Bahrain

The Socceroos have remained on top of the Group A table for Asian qualifying with a 2-0 win over Bahrain at Sydney's Stadium Australia.

Australia 2 - 0 Bahrain

Scorers:Mile Sterjovski 55', David Carney 88' Attendance: 39,544

The match began with both sides being very cagey but eventually opened up despite some solid defending from the Bahrain team.

In the 26th minute, Scott McDonald was played through by Brett Holman and despite calls for offside play went on but the Celtic star hit it on the up and sent it over the bar.

It was a golden opportunity for McDonald to break his Socceroos duck but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

Moments later, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made a blunder from a Bahrain free-kick, failing to handle the bouncing ball properly but the ensuing corner was eventually cleared by the home side.

Seven minutes before the break, David Carney made a searching run down the left flank and sent a high ball in to the area which Mile Sterjovski got on the end of but could only nod into goalkeeper Sayed Jafaar arms.

Just prior to the break, Bahrain winger Salman Isa found himself free on the edge of the box and slashed a left-foot shot inches over the crossbar before Socceroos midfielder Luke Wilkshire hit a 25-metre free-kick straight at Jafaar.

In the 55th minute, Mile Sterjovski pounced on a mistake from the Bahrain defence after a nice ball from Kewell to open the scoring for the Socceroos.

Bahrain thought they had equalised in the 60th minute after a free-kick was headed in from close range but Marzooq was adjudged to be offside and the score remained at 1-0 to Pim Verbeek's men.

Kewell found the ball on the left wing and played in David Carney who smashed a shot into the palms of Jafaar in the 75th minute before the ensuing corner bought about an extremely close chance when substitute Jade North headed towards Kewell in the middle of the area but his glancing header was cleared off the line.

Less than ten minutes from time, Kewell once again found himself free with the ball but this time he was in the area and let loose with a shot over the bar.

In the 88th minute, scores became 2-0 when Carney tapped in from close range after setting up an overhead kick for Jason Culina which rattled into the far upright and bounced into the path of the Sheffield United winger to wrap up proceedings.

The Socceroos now meet Japan in Melbourne next Wednesday in their final group match.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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