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Kewell, Emerton at the forefront as Australia overhaul Saudi Arabia with late flurry

Australia recorded a thrilling come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Saudi Arabia in 2014 World Cup qualifying on Wednesday night.

The Socceroos trailed 2-1 at AAMI Park in Melbourne with just over 20 minutes remaining in their final group match of the third round of qualifiers before scoring three times late to finish seven points clear in Group D.

Frank Rijkaard's Saudi side took the lead through Saleem Al Dawsari in the 19th minute before Alex Brosque leveled for Holger Osieck's Socceroos two minutes before half-time. The Saudis went ahead again when Nasser Al Shamrani scored in injury time of the first half but their dream of progressing to Brazil 2014 was in the end shattered as the home side responded.

Three goals in three minutes saw the Socceroos notch up a fifth win of the group stage to finish well clear of Oman after already having their spot in the next phase tied up.

Harry Kewell made it 2-2 in the 73rd minute when he netted his 17th international goal with a simple finish from Brosque's clever pass before the Shimizu S-Pulse man grabbed his second two minutes later with a header from a pinpoint Brett Emerton cross.

The comeback was complete in the 76th minute when provider Emerton turned scorer in fortuitous circumstances when Kamil Al Mousa's attempted clearance from Mark Bresciano's through ball ricocheted back off the Sydney FC midfielder and into the back of the net.

The Socceroos join Jordan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Japan, Oman and Iran in the fourth round with still a few places to be sorted.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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