The Socceroos were held to a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia in their bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Australia suffered an early blow in the match when a ball from Hassan Muath Fallatah found Taisir Al-Jassim inside the box to put Saudi Arabia ahead inside the 5th minute.
The men in gold found equalised on the stroke of half-time as Aaron Mooy’s corner found Trent Sainsbury who headed the ball past the Saudi goalkeeper.
The Socceroos took the lead when Tomi Juric finished off a brilliant counter-attack which started with Massimo Luongo who played Robbie Kruse who found the former Western Sydney Wanderer forward after 71 minutes.
The lead didn’t last long: 2014 Asian footballer of the year Nassir Al-Shamrani’s clean touch slotted past Australian keeper Mat Ryan in the 79th minute.
Saudi Arabia had a golden opportunity to seal the win when substitute Fahad Al-Mulwallad’s shot was saved by Ryan and then cleared off the line by Mark Milligan in the dying moments of the game.
Kruse said at the end of the game that “It feels like a loss.”
The result leaves Australia joint top of group B with Saudi Arabia on seven points. The Socceroos are followed by Japan, their next opponents, on six points. Minnows Thailand are bottom of the group without a win. – Ben Owusu
Photo of Robbie Kruse getting past a Saudi Arabian player from the Socceroos’ Twitter feed.