Olyroos overcome Saudi Arabia 2-0 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Olyroos overcome Saudi Arabia 2-0

By Hannibal Rossi 28/03/2007 10:08:29 PM Comments (0)

Late goals to defender Nick Topor-Stanley and Kristian Sarkies rescued Australia's bid to qualify for the Beijing Olympics as the Olyroos toppled Group D leaders Saudi Arabia 2-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night.

Left back Topor-Stanley got the vital breakthrough in the 74th minute by heading home a Sarkies free kick at the near post while the latter iced Australia's first win in the qualifying group after two draws with a close range shot in the 93rd minute.

The win took the Olyroos within one point of their opponents at the top of the group. The top two teams will progress to the next stage.

Coach Robert Baan opted for more experienced reinforcements for the match in the guise of Sydney FC's Ruben Zadkovich and Mark Milligan as well as Birmingham City's Neil Kilkenny.

Australia started brightly in the first half but fell down with slow build-ups and lacklustre final passes.

Pacesetting Saudi Arabia looked capable of causing an upset with speedy striker Ahmed Alsuwailh almost making the Olyroos pay in the seventh minute, narrowly shooting over the crossbar.

Sarkies fired the Olyroos' only shot on target in the first half in the 19th minute which bounced off the chest of Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah Ali.

Singapore referee cautioned Olyroo captain Milligan as well as two Saudi players before half time for ill timed tackles but it took changes midway through the second half to shake up the Olyroos machine.

Topor-Stanley showed the way when he timed his run perfectly to the near post to power an angled header from Sarkies' cross after defender Ruben Zhadkovich had been fouled just outside the penalty area on the right.

Sarkies also punched a header wide in the 76th minute but got his reward in injury time after Kilkenny released substitute Nathan Burns on the left and Sarkies side-footed a pinpoint cross into the net for the clincher.

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