Heartbreak for UAE as Australia set up World Cup playoff with Peru

Socceroos will now play Peru on June 13

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Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 8 Jun 2022, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jun 2022, 12:20 AM

The UAE produced one of their finest attacking displays in recent years, but their stirring effort was not enough to stop the Socceroos.

The hugely experienced Australia won the Asian playoff 2-1 in Doha on Tuesday night to move a step closer to making their fifth straight World Cup appearance.

Australia set up an inter-continental playoff with South America’s Peru on the back of second-half goals from Ajdin Hrustic (84th minute) and Jackson Irvine (53rd minute).

Caio Canedo, the Brazil-born UAE striker, raised The Whites hopes with his 57th minute goal, four minutes after the Aussies found the opening goal of the match through Irvine.

But Hrustic’s shot from outside the box broke UAE’s hearts in what was an enthralling game of football.

The UAE got off to a nervy start, their play was littered with misplaced passes. Sensing uncertainty in the UAE half, the Australians imposed themselves in the game and won the early exchanges.

The Socceroos dominated the first 10 minutes, but their dominance didn’t last as the UAE slowly started to find their passing range in the middle of the park.

The Whites were bossing the midfield with their neat passes, playing the ball around with effortless ease.

Omar Abdul Rahman started the game from the bench, but it seemed the UAE were not really missing the talismanic playmaker.

What Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s men were missing was the sumptuous final ball Omar would have sent to strikers Ali Mabkhout or Caio.

The defensive shape of the Australians allowed no room for the UAE to find that killer pass in the final third.

Ali Mabkhout, though, was a constant menace for the Graham Arnold’s Australian team, going deep into his own half to win balls and start flowing UAE moves.

The tireless striker eventually showed his class in the Australian half when his beautiful through ball in the 35th minute found Harib Abdalla Suhail whose left-footed shot from the inside the box was saved by Mathew Ryan, the Aussie goalkeeper.

That remained the best chance for either team in the first half.

The UAE came out all guns blazing in the second half and they had their first chance soon, thanks to the individual brilliance of Harib Abdalla Suhail.

The 19-year-old midfielder went on a mazy run down the left flank, twisting and turning before firing a low shot from the left side of the box in the 49th minute, but the Australian goalkeeper was up to the challenge again, denying the Emiratis the chance to take the lead.

Four minutes later, it was the Australians that took the lead against the run of play.

Martin Boyle, the veteran left-winger found space down the right flank before beating two UAE defenders and sending a crisp ball to Irvine whose deft touch from inside the box found the back of the net.

The Australian lead lasted just four minutes as the UAE’s fearless approach in the middle of the park finally paid off when Harib Abdalla Suhail’s cross from the left was fired home by Caio.

With both teams locked in an intense battle for the winner, it was Australia that found the solution as Hrustic’s 84th minute strike ended UAE’s hopes of ending their 32-year wait for a World Cup appearance.

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