• FT





  • FT

    South Korea





Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium

Referee: Ali Albadwawi | Attendance: 11749

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  • Tim Cahill 11'
  • Harry Kewell 25'
  • Brett Holman 45'
  • Tim Cahill 65'

Cahill at the double

Tim Cahill was again the star as the Socceroos kicked off their Asian Cup campaign as predicted, with a comfortable 4-0 win over lowly India on Monday.

• Taylor: Naive India exploited

• Osieck delighted with performance

While it wasn't the cricket score some had expected against their 142nd-ranked opponents, Holger Osieck's side looked good in patches and were made to work hard at Al Sadd Stadium.

Cahill reaffirmed his status as Australia's biggest attacking weapon, scoring the first and final goals, with Harry Kewell and Brett Holman also getting on the score sheet.

India, returning to a major international tournament for the first time in 27 years, were far from disgraced, getting several sights on goal much to the excitement of a vocal supporting contingent among the crowd of 9783.

Their goalkeeper Subrata Paul kept the score from being larger than 3-0 at halftime, denying Cahill twice with brilliant saves, while the Everton midfielder also appeared to be denied what looked a legitimate goal prior to the break.

Having vowed to field his strongest possible side, Osieck did just that, opting to leave Scott McDonald on the bench despite the Middlesbrough striker still searching for his first international goal.

McDonald did see 20 minutes off the bench but remained goalless after 22 international appearances.

Cahill and Kewell started up front and it was they who kicked off proceedings.

Cahill made the initial breakthrough in the 11th minute, smashing home from close range after Brett Emerton picked him out with a low cross.

Kewell then chimed in after 25 minutes, putting his side 2-0 up with a brilliant second.

Mile Jedinak and Luke Wilkshire combined in the lead-up before the Galatasaray forward unleashed a powerful left-footed shot to beat Paul from 25 metres.

Holman then did his best Cahill impersonation at the stroke of halftime, scoring his fifth goal in the past 10 matches with a brave header from another fine Emerton cross.

With a chance goal difference could come into play in deciding the make-up of Group C, Australia would likely have been disappointed to have only added one more goal in the second half.

It came in the 65th minute, when Cahill made a trademark late run to head home a Wilkshire free kick.

Osieck handed Matt McKay and Nathan Burns some game time off the bench in the second half, but the side lacked the fluency they showed for much of the first period.

India almost spoiled Australia's clean sheet with five minutes remaining when striker Sunil Chhetri broke on goal before Sasa Ognenovski, who kept his starting place at centre back, made amends for his mistake in defence.

The Socceroos next face fellow tournament fancies South Korea on Friday.

  • Osieck delighted with performance

    Coach Holger Osieck was delighted to see his Australia side begin their Asian Cup campaign in style.

    "It is very important to get a good start in a tournament, that you find your rhythm, get your performance together after the preparation you never know where you stand, how things will be transferred," Osieck said.

    "From my point of view it was a good start. In the first half, technically we played very well and it's always difficult to break down an opponent's defence when they sit but we showed a lot of discipline on the technical side when attacking.

    "We scored three goals which was encouraging and to start with a 4-0 win all in all is good and should give us confidence for the next games to come."

    Osieck also dismissed concerns his centre-back pairing of Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski could be exposed by a forward line with more pace than India could offer.

    "You have to look at the positives first. Both are very experienced, very solid and they are strong in the air, both are good headers of the ball," he said.

    "They don't get nervous or intimidated, there are a lot of positive aspects rather than the so-called lack of mobility but we will have to see when we play against Korea."

    Despite the defeat, India coach Bob Houghton felt his men did not let themselves down.

    "Nobody likes to lose 4-0, that's for sure, but all in all it was a good experience for us," the Englishman said. "I thought my team were very good today. You can be proud of that performance if you were in my position today.

    "The boys worked hard, they kept going even when they were 4-0 down, kept their shape and their discipline, that's the first time we've played against a team of that quality.

    "They watch these guys in the Premiership every weekend and today they're thinking, 'We're not that far away. Yes, they're better than us but we can compete with them'.

    "I think they can walk off the field with their heads held high and now we need to prepare for the next two games against Bahrain and Korea Republic that are also difficult.

    "We need to do the same in those games but set plays are difficult for us because physically we struggle. That was one of the issues."