Aussies' unbeaten record intact after Bahrain victory

Schwarzer satisfied as Verbeek's second-string side overwhelm opponents

Australia maintained their unbeaten record in the latest round of Asian World Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Bahrain at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney yesterday. Midfielder Mile Sterjovski broke the deadlock when he scored in the 55th minute and left-back David Carney sealed the Group One win with a goal in the 88th.

Bahrain are still in the hunt to reach their first World Cup but need a point from their last match against Uzbekistan next week to be absolutely sure of making the play-offs.

Australia fielded a mostly second-string team having already secured their place at next year's World Cup in South Africa when they held Qatar to a goalless draw in Doha at the weekend.

After a slow start the home side took control of the match in the second half despite squandering a series of chances to win by a bigger margin. "I think we created enough chances to score more than two goals," the Australia coach, Pim Verbeek said. "We were probably not really sharp enough to finish it off. A lot of new players came into the team but if you win the game 2-0 I think you've done everything you have to do."

Despite making seven changes to the starting line-up, the Australians extended their impressive record of not conceding a goal in any of their seven games so far in the last stage of qualifying. They play Japan, who have also qualified for South Africa, in their last group match in Melbourne next week.

Australia struggled in the first half, with striker Scott McDonald missing a golden chance to score, but they took control after the break. Sterjovski pounced on a defensive error to score then Carney reacted quickly to poke home a rebound after a bicycle kick by Jason Culina hit the post.Australia were unlucky not to score a third with Harry Kewell also hitting the woodwork.

That prompted goalkeeper and stand-in captain Mark Schwarzer to launched a spirited defence of the team's tactics after they were criticised during the qualifiers for not scoring enough."I'm extremely proud [of] the way the whole team and management have gone about their job the whole campaign, they've been extremely professional," Schwarzer said. "I think if we can push on again against Japan and keep another clean sheet, we can't do any better than that. It's very hard to understand how difficult the conditions [in Asia] are at times. You need to go away and just get the job done, sometimes it's not pretty."

South Korea drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia yesterday after the visitors had Ahmed Ateef sent off in the 80th minute following a second yellow card. They had reached their seventh consecutive World Cup finals on Saturday after beating the United Arab Emirates 2-0 in a Group Two qualifier. The second automatic place for Asia Group Two comes down to a head-to-head match between North Korea and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh next week.

Japan ended Qatar's faint hopes of a place at the finals with a 1-1 home draw yesterday. The Japanese had already booked a spot in the South Africa tournament by beating Uzbekistan 1-0 in Tashkent last weekend. They went ahead after just three minutes in Yokohama courtesy of an own goal from Ahmed Ali Albinali but Qatar equalised through an Ali Yahya penalty in the 53rd minute.

10

Goals Australia have scored in their seven final stage World Cup qualifiers.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker