Mon December 11, 2017
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Sports

AFP
November 16, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Jedinak fires Australia into World Cup

Jedinak fires Australia into World Cup

SYDNEY: Captain Mile Jedinak’s second-half hat-trick fired Australia into next year’s World Cup in Russia on Wednesday as they swept past Honduras 3-1 in the second leg of their playoff in Sydney.

The Aston Villa midfielder’s free kick went in off Henry Figueroa on 54 minutes, and he then buried two penalties in the space of 13 minutes before Honduras scrambled a late consolation through Alberth Elis.

The final whistle heralded a massive roar from the 77,000 home crowd at the Sydney Olympic stadium as the Socceroos went through 3-1 on aggregate following last week’s 0-0 first leg in San Pedro Sula.

It will be Australia’s fourth consecutive World Cup and fifth overall, and follows a mammoth 22-game, 29-month qualifying campaign criss-crossing Asia, the Middle East and Central America.

“It’s overwhelming to be honest. When you are coaching your own nation to burden of responsibility is even greater, you know what it means to the nation and the game,” said Australia coach Ange Postecoglou.

After a cagey first half, the game unravelled for Honduras when Jedinak, who has been struggling with injury for several months, struck three times in the last 36 minutes.“Australia were very strong and aggressive and put pressure on us and tried to neutalise us,” Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto told reporters.

Scoring chances were scarce in a cat-and-mouse opening period, with the best falling in the 37th minute to Celtic’s Tom Rogic, whose shot was well saved by Donis Escober.Argentine referee Nestor Pitana issued a total of three yellow cards, two to Australia’s Matt Jurman and Aaron Mooy and the other to Maynor Figueroa for a foul on Tim Cahill.

Australia were fielding four across the back, with deep-lying midfielder Jedinak adding to the rearguard, but Honduras posed little threat in the first half.Jedinak broke the deadlock in the 54th minute with free kick which took a wicked deflection off Figueroa, but was eventually credited to the skipper after initially being marked as an own goal.

The goal revved up the Socceroos and the capacity home crowd, and Cahill came close with a looping header but Escober scrambled it away off the woodwork.Cahill’s night was over after 66 minutes, replaced by striker Tomi Juric and met with a standing ovation from the home crowd in salute to his courageous fightback from a recent ankle injury.

The Socceroos tightened their grip when Bryan Acosta was adjudged to have handballed Aaron Mooy’s pass in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.Jedinak stepped up and rammed home the spot-kick and Australia were two-up with 18 minutes left.

Substitute Robbie Kruse was then brought down as he closed in on goal and again the referee blew for a penalty, allowing Jedinak to complete his brace with an identical finish into the bottom right.

Deep into stoppage time, Elis gave the Honduran fans a fleeting moment of cheer when his shot trickled over the line following a goalmouth melee.On Tuesday night, Christian Eriksen’s magnificent hat-trick inspired Denmark to a 5-1 demolition of the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of their play-off in Dublin to clinch a spot at next year’s World Cup.

Following Saturday’s stalemate in Copenhagen, Ireland got their home leg off to the perfect start when Shane Duffy headed them into the lead after only six minutes, but Denmark struck twice before the break and three more in the second half to seal their place in Russia.

“It is an incredible feeling. We have been fighting for so long to get to the World Cup. We are very much looking forward to it,” said Eriksen.The equaliser arrived in fortuitous circumstances on 19 minutes when Cyrus Christie helped bundle in Andreas Christensen’s effort, but there was nothing lucky about Eriksen’s thunderbolt for the second or his second-half brace.

Nicklas Bendtner, on as a late substitute, completed the rout in the final minute with a penalty after a clumsy trip on him by James McClean, extending Ireland’s wait for a first World Cup appearance since 2002.

“We’re really disappointed. We were well beaten in the end,” said Ireland coach Martin O’Neill.“The two goals we conceded within a couple of minutes knocked us. We had to chase the game and Denmark took advantage. They deserved to go through.”

O’Neill, who had already agreed a new contact to lead Ireland into the qualifiers for the 2020 European Championship, will ship criticism for again selecting his team without the craft of Wes Hoolahan.

The 35-year-old, one of four Ireland players likely to retire from international football, was only introduced at the interval with Ireland needing three goals to redeem their cause.Duffy will certainly be around for the next campaign and his role as a central figure was solidified by his second crucial goal of the campaign.

After Daryl Murphy earned a free-kick on the halfway line, Robbie Brady’s delivery was telegraphed perfectly for the giant centre-back to arrive on cue to nod past the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.That early breakthrough ensured the game opened up and Murphy nearly added a second only to ripple the side-netting with a volley. 

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar

Advertisement