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.