- *Rogic second half rocket seals crucial three points *
- *Tomi Juric's double cancelled out in four-goal first half *
- Salem Al-Dawsari then Mohammed Al Sahlawi leveller
Tom Rogic's superb second half strike saw Australia to a crucial 3-2 victory over Saudi Arabia in 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying Group B in Asia. The winner came after the game was neatly poised at 2-2 at the break, with Tomi Juric's brace pegged back twice by first Salem Al-Dawsari and then Mohammed Al-Sahlawi.
The Socceroos were quick off the blocks, thanks to an error by Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem. The visitors' stopper had given an omen of things to come when an early clearance cannoned off Juric and away to safety, but he was not so lucky a second time, slipping while kicking the ball out of his hands. It fell to the Australia No9 who controlled and finished with aplomb from distance.
Al-Dossari then crafted an equaliser of his own making, winning the ball in midfield and working a quickfire one-two with Al Sahlawi before finishing calmly past Maty Ryan.
Juric nodded home after great work down the left by Matthew Leckie, but the Saudi sensation Al Sahlawi had the last word in the opening period. Yahia Al Shehri's delightful chipped through ball found Taisir Al-Jassim in the Socceroos' penalty area. He nodded down to the No10, who slammed past Ryan to level.
Despite the sucker punch just before the break, the hosts came out after the interval in confident mood, epitomised by the goal that put them ahead once more. Aaron Mooy slipped the ball to Rogic, and the Celtic man slammed home from distance, giving Al Mosailem no chance.
The Socceroos continued to grow in confidence throughout the second period and created further chances, with Juric notably squandering a chance to claim his hat-trick.
The result puts Australia level on points with the second-placed Saudis in Group B, behind them only on goal difference with two games remaining.