Australia beats Oman 3-0 in World Cup qualifying

Midfielder Brett Holman scored in the eighth minute on Tuesday

to set Australia on the way to a 3-0 win over underdogs Oman that

leaves the Socceroos in a strong position to advance to the fourth

round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup.

Josh Kennedy, with his eighth goal in his last five

internationals, scored Australia’s second goal in the 65th minute

and Mile Jedinak completed the scoring with five minutes left.

The win gives Australia maximum points from its first three

matches and a six-point lead over second-place Thailand, which has

played two matches.

”That was the target, we had a good win on Friday and we wanted

another,” Australia captain Lucas Neill said. ”It will give us a

lot of confidence with one foot in the next round.”

Osieck said there was room for improvement. ”I’m happy but not

satisfied,” he said.

The Socceroos play their next match in Muscat, Oman on Nov. 11,

needing as little as one point from its final three matches to

advance.

The first- and second-place teams in each of the five qualifying

groups qualify for the fourth round.

Australia was playing without two of its regular internationals

– former Leeds and Liverpool star Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton,

who opted out of the final year of his contract with Blackburn

Rovers to join the A-League’s Sydney FC.

They were excused from the Australia lineup by head coach Holger

Osieck so they’d be available for their respective teams – Kewell

with the Melbourne Victory – for Saturday’s scoreless draw to open

the season.

Osieck made three changes from Friday’s night’s 5-0 friendly win

over Malaysia, with Holman and Jedinak returning to the starting

lineup.

The Socceroos survived some nervous moments and sloppy defending

early as Oman made use of its pace with several swift

counterattacking moves.

But Holman gave Australia the early lead when he scored his

sixth international goal, turning in a Matt McKay square ball after

Oman had failed to clear a dangerous Rhys Williams cross.

Australia maintained its dominance but couldn’t add to its total

until the 65th minute when Kennedy scored. Jedinak completed the

scoring in the 85th minute, cleverly flicking in a free kick from

close range.

Oman came closest to scoring in the 68th minute, but Australian

goalkeeper Adam Federici made a strong save from Ahmed Al

Mahaijri’s curling free kick.