Australia 7 Tajikistan 0: Socceroos cruise to emphatic victory


Australia remain on course to top Group B and progress to the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying following a thumping 7-0 victory over Tajikistan.

The hosts dominated throughout in Adelaide and, despite struggling to make their pressure count in the first half, they scored five goals after the interval to add gloss to the win.

Massimo Luongo opened the scoring just two minutes in before penalties from Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan either side of the break stretched the advantage.

Nathan Burns then added a fourth and substitute Tom Rogic's quickfire double within four minutes of coming on had the hosts six ahead.

A late second for Burns sealed victory in Australia's biggest win of the campaign, but the margin of victory could have been even greater after they peppered the woodwork with shots in the closing stages.

The Socceroos' win puts them in the box seat to reach Russia heading into their final fixture against Jordan, who host Bangladesh later on Thursday.

Failure to win for Harry Redknapp's men would see Australia progress with a game to spare, as well as securing their place in the 2019 Asian Cup.

Luongo broke the deadlock with a low drive beyond the reach of Alisher Tuychiev into the bottom left-hand corner, before Jedinak saw his powerful free-kick held and Mathew Leckie sent a header wide from close range.

Another chance to double the lead went begging when Burns sent the ball bouncing wide of the left-hand post, but a clumsy lunge from Tuychiev gifted Australia their second goal on a plate after 13 minutes.

The 40-year-old keeper brought down debutant Apostolos Giannou in the box and, after escaping with a yellow card, was unable to prevent Jedinak from making it two from the spot.

The lively Giannou, who made a friendly appearance for his native Greece before switching allegiances, lifted well over the crossbar from a Leckie cutback as the Socceroos' pressure showed no sign of relenting, before Burns' effort suffered the same fate after he beat Tuychiev to a cross from the right.

Tuychiev then got down well to save a Jedinak header in the closing stages of the half, but a second penalty 12 minutes into the second period put the result beyond doubt.

Davron Ergashev pulled down Giannou in the area to present Milligan - on for earlier penalty scorer Jedinak - with the chance to make it three from the spot.

Tuychiev was strong to beat away a Giannou effort soon after, but he was left picking the ball out of the back of his net once again after 67 minutes - Burns touching home from a superb right-wing cross from Aaron Mooy.

A Rogic bullet was deemed to have bounced over the line when it cannoned off the underside of the crossbar in the 70th minute, although Giannou was on hand to make absolutely sure of the goal.

And Rogic added his second two minutes later when he curled in an excellent effort off the outside of his left boot.

Rogic, Robbie Kruse and Mooy all struck the crossbar in a remarkable spell of pressure late on, before Burns rounded off the scoring with a placed header two minutes from time.