Match Results

by John on September 07, 2011

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Match Review

Tim Cahill returned to Australian colours and the score sheet as the Socceroos notched up a 2-1 friendly victory over Wales at Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday night.

In his first match for Australia since January's Asian Cup final, Cahill found the back of the net in the 44th minute before substitute Robbie Kruse doubled the lead in the 61st minute.

Wales substitute Darcy Blake pulled one back in the 82nd minute by heading home a corner in front of a sparse crowd.

Cahill has now scored 24 times in 53 internationals and the Everton star looked refreshed following his first genuine off-season in years.

The Socceroos open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Thailand in Brisbane on September 2.

Wales entered the match ranked 112th to Australia's 23rd, the home side struggling to regularly field its strongest team with star player Gareth Bale playing in red for the first time in 10 months.

Scott McDonald edged out Kruse for the starting position up front next to Cahill and Neil Kilkenny earned the nod in the centre of midfield ahead of Mile Jedinak.

Australia had the better of the chances throughout the match and the Wales' back four looked wobbly at times.

In the 20th minute, Australian midfielder Carl Valeri scuffed a good look at goal from the edge of the area.

Much of the lead-up talk had surrounded how defender Luke Wilkshire would handle Bale.

However it was the Tottenham star that was nearly caught out as Wilkshire came agonisingly close to scoring in the 35th minute.

The defender was given enough time and space to deliver a stinging shot from outside the area that crashed off the near post.

The match stirred to life just before the break with Gareth Bale tumbling in the penalty area in the 43rd minute under pressure from Brett Emerton.

As the home fans voiced their frustration, the Socceroos grabbed the lead in the following minute.

Wilkshire delivered a teasing cross into the box with Cahill volleying the low ball straight past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from close range.

Australia made two changes at half time with Robbie Kruse coming on for Wilkshire and Rhys Williams on for Emerton.

Kruse had a good look at goal only two minutes after his introduction but Hennessey blocked his shot with Valeri's follow-up shot rebounding off the post.

Wales finally had a look at goal in the 50th minute but substitute Jack Collison's left foot shot went over the bar.

The Australians doubled their lead when Hennessey was unable to deal with Scott McDonald's low cross and Kruse pounced from five metres out.

James Troisi came on for Cahill in the 71st minute and Australia's lead looked safe until Blake scored with eight minutes left to play.

Adam Sarota made his debut for Australia, coming on in the 83rd minute for Utrecht teammate Michael Zullo.

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck replaced Emerton because of sickness while Wilkshire received a nasty knock to the ribs.

The German was pleased with the team's efforts and felt the forward line pairing of Scott McDonald and Cahill did a good job.

"I think Scotty McDonald did a great job today, he did a lot of running for the team and defensively he did great," Osieck said.

"Timmy is always a threat for the opponent's defence and he scored a goal which was another good combination play. So it worked pretty well."