Saudi Arabia dampened Australia’s much-anticipated homecoming Thursday with a scoreless attract a World Cup qualifying conflict in Sydney — the Socceroos’ first residence sport in additional than two years.
Defying a rowdy crowd of 23,314, the guests spoilt the celebration in a bad-tempered arm-wrestle performed in teeming rain.
The Socceroos final performed in entrance of their followers towards Nepal in Canberra in October 2019 earlier than being compelled abroad when Australia’s borders slammed shut due to the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia proceed to set the tempo in Group B with 13 factors whereas Australia are clinging to second spot with 10.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get the three factors to rejoice with the followers,” Australia ahead Mathew Leckie mentioned.
“They defended very well. It was simply a type of video games the ball didn’t wish to go in.”
With regional powerhouses Japan scorching on their heels, each groups have been determined to maneuver nearer to a top-two end and automated qualification to subsequent 12 months’s World Cup in Qatar.
The third-placed groups can nonetheless hope to make the minimize by way of an inter-continental playoff.
Having misplaced 2-1 to Japan final month in Saitama, a pumped-up Socceroos rattled an under-pressure Saudi Arabia amid a cauldron-like environment.
But the guests settled and virtually pinched an early lead, just for Salman Al-Faraj’s shot from contained in the field to be brilliantly blocked by defender Harry Souttar.
Surviving that scare, Australia held sway as soon as extra however have been let down by sloppiness in assault.
Australia have been aggressive within the second half in a determined bid to interrupt the impasse.
They had quite a few alternatives however have been frequently thwarted by goalkeeper Mohammed Al Yami.
Saudi Arabia seemed to be wilting and misplaced their composure with yellow playing cards to Abdulelah Alamri and Ali Hadi Albulayhi.
But Australia’s momentum got here to a halt when Souttar, who’s reportedly on the transfer to the English Premier League, was stretchered off with a knee damage.
Saudi Arabia appeared the extra more likely to rating in direction of the tip and created a number of probabilities, however have been unable to grab a late victory.
Even although they didn’t break a 24-year drought towards the Socceroos, Saudi Arabia saved their stranglehold on Group B.
Saudi Arabia’s highway journey continues towards Vietnam on November 16, whereas Australia play China in Sharjah on the identical day.
Read all of the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News right here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Telegram.