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Australia vs Honduras

FIFA World Cup - 2018 Qualifiers - AFC vs CONCACAF - Match 2
Australia vs Honduras
at Stadium Australia on 2017-11-15T09:00:00
Score: 3-1 (0-0)
Scorers: Mile Jedinak (53', 72' P, 85' P)
Official Info: Socceroos
Previous Match: Honduras vs Australia
Next Match: Norway vs Australia

After missing the kick-off against Syria, I was determined to be on time for this match. We boarded the special event bus well before 7pm and were making good time until we got close to the ground. Then we could see a major traffic snarl on the exit off the freeway. It looked as if it could take half an hour to complete a few hundred metres. Fortunately, our bus driver showed plenty of initiative and decided to take an alternative route. We bailed out on the normal exit, flew past the stadium and came back the other way. We still hit a snarl, but only for about ten minutes. The driver then showed plenty of chutzpah with some clever lane choices and got use there with about quarter of an hour to go. There were no dramas getting in our gate; indeed we sailed through. Later, we heard of major train and bus delays and spectators missing much of the first half. So, while our trip was much longer than usual, we didn't miss anything.

The match started bang on time. We were advised the matched was a sellout and the stadium looked pretty full and there was plenty of noise. The Socceroos played pretty well and were making all the running. Astonishingly, for mine, Honduras were happy to sit back and went out of their way to waste time, much to the frustration of the parochial crowd. The referee seemed to be handling things pretty well. Dives and other nonsense - by both sides - were typically waved away. The Aussies had the best of the chances. Nothing as clear cut as in Honduras, but a promising half. It was 0-0 at the break. However, having been expecting another nail-biter, I was surprisingly relaxed and confident.

In the second half we really turned it on. We were making better chances and creating more pressure. Finally, the break came. Mile Jedinak from a free kick that took a wicked deflection. We had the advantage and Honduras knew it. All of a sudden there was no more time wasting as they tried to get their attack going. But we were resolute in defence and never let up in attack. Another raid lead to a hand-ball and a penalty. Jedinak under immense pressure delivered the goods. 2-0. Substitutions from both teams. More raids. Kruse, on goal, hacked from behind. A clear penalty and no arguments from the Hondurans. Jedinak - the man mountain - was ice cool under pressure. 3-0 and we were off to Russia. A late goal to the Hondurans, deep into injury time, was disappointing, but ultimately meaningless. The celebrations commenced barely a minute later.

Over the two legs we were clearly the better side. Indeed if we had scored in Honduras as we should have, it would have been a whitewash. As it was, we sent them packing. Upon reflection, I expected them to be stronger. We'll go to Russia reasonably confident I would imagine. We still have issues scoring - especially from open play - but our brand of football should trouble many teams.

Man of the match and the two-leg playoff was easily Mile Jedinak. His leadership and solid defence were inspiring. His first ever hat-trick was simply sensational.