Socceroos score 'ugly win' over Iraq - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Socceroos score 'ugly win' over Iraq

By Guy Hand 26/03/2005 10:47:58 PM Comments (0)

The Socceroos' defensive frailties were exposed in a fortunate 2-1 victory over Iraq which made Australian soccer's taste of Asia a distinctly sweet and sour one.

Socceroos coach Frank Farina said he was disappointed with his players' performance in what he called "an ugly win" in their friendly international at Telstra Stadium.

Substitute Ahmad Elrich saved the Socceroos with a 73rd minute winner against the run of play.

But Australia's defence gifted the Iraqis their goal and nearly gave them another two - the Socceroos spared from an embarrassing defeat only by Iraq's poor finishing.

The defensive lapse which led to Iraq's first goal particularly raised Farina's ire - his back-four caught flat-footed by a long ball gleefully latched onto by striker Mohammad Nasir in the 11th minute.

Farina had explicitly warned his defenders to be wary of the long ball and admitted he had given a spray to centre-backs Tony Popovic and Craig Moore and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer at halftime.

"I said my piece to everyone - I think we had a few issues at halftime," Farina said.

"I certainly let Schwarzer and the two central defenders know exactly how I felt."

But Iraq came up with its own defensive howler 12 minutes later - goalkeeper Sarmad Rasheed flapping at a Marco Bresciano free-kick and virtually pushing it into his own net.

Despite Farina's halftime message, things didn't improve much at the back after the break.

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