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Australia vs U.A.E.

FIFA World Cup - 2018 Qualifiers - Asian Region - Round 3 - Group B - Match 7
Australia vs U.A.E.
at Sydney Football Stadium, Australia on 2017-03-28T09:00:00
Score: 2-0 (1-0)
Scorers: Jackson Irvine (6'), Matthew Leckie (78')
Official Info: Socceroos
Previous Match: Iraq vs Australia
Next Match: Australia vs Saudi Arabia

After a long break, it was nice to be able to head out and watch the Socceroos live. A pretty good crowd turned up on a pleasant Tuesday evening for a crucial match. There was absolutely no question we needed a win tonight and thankfully the Socceroos delivered, albeit without much fluency.

Overall it was quite a frustrating match despite getting off to a flyer with an early goal. We struggled to maintain possession and pressure, often losing the ball due to poor control, even when under no pressure at all. Oddly, the U.A.E. didn't really put the pressure on us. Yes, they created some chances, but they seemed a little disinterested. Which is curious given they needed a win even more than us.

The second half was a little better than the first. We seemed a little more in control. The introduction of our substitutes really livened us up and we began to exert more pressure. A second goal with ~25 minutes to go eased tensions. Even now, the U.A.E. didn't spark up, eg. their goalkeeper took aeons to restart from goal-kicks when you would have thought a quick ball was the order of the day.

In the end, we got home with the win we needed. It proved vital, as once again Saudi Arabia and Japan won their corresponding fixtures. With three games to go we're on 13 points, 3 points behind both of those teams. Our destiny is still in our control. We have Japan away - always tough - with Japan needing to keep winning too. Then the absolutely crucial home match against Saudi Arabia - this is probably our best chance to pull back 3 points on the two teams in front of us. We wrap up with a home match against Thailand, which we should win comfortably. So it's going to be tight. Working in our favour is that Saudi Arabia must play Japan in the last round - although conspiracy theorists will no doubt wonder if they could engineer a result to keep Australia from finishing in the top 2.