Mabil's goal gives Socceroos 1-0 win over New Zealand

Mabil’s goal gives Socceroos 1-0 win over New Zealand

A first-half goal from Cádiz winger Awer Mabil was enough for Australia to beat New Zealand 1-0 in a World Cup warm-up match in Brisbane on Thursday.

The match was the first leg of a two-game series to celebrate 100 years since Australia played its first international, a 3-1 loss to New Zealand in 1922.

The second game will be played in Auckland on Sunday.

It was also the last game on Australian soil before the Socceroos travel to Qatar for the World Cup, where they open their campaign against France on November 22.

Australia will bring some concerns to Qatar, after struggling to expel a team ranked far below them that failed to qualify for the World Cup.

“I’m far from satisfied with that to be honest,” Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine said.

“There are a lot of things that we could have done better. We managed to get a win, but there are a lot of aspects of the game that we can do better.”

“But at the end of the day, a win is a win and it’s a historic day for the national team.”

The All Whites outshone the Aussies in both possession and completions, and had more shots on target than the Socceroos.

Their lack of cutting edge up front proved the difference: while Australia had 12 shots on target, just three of them were on target. One of them was Mabil’s goal in the 35th minute.

New Zealand frustrated the Socceroos with their high-pressure play and should have gone ahead early when Andre De Jong fired wide after a one-on-one with goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

The visitors dominated early, with numerous chances, but Australia weathered the storm and began to get back into the game.

Irvine had a golden opportunity to put the Socceroos ahead after 17 minutes, but fired wide as the Aussies remained frustrated by the tenacious New Zealand side.

But the All Whites had to pay for their early mistakes when, in the 35th minute, Mabil dribbled the ball into space, cut inside the box and fired a powerful shot from outside the area past New Zealand goalkeeper Oli Sail.

The All Whites probably got the better of the second half with Elijah Just and Liberato Cacace particularly impressive, but the Socceroos were able to hang on for the win.

New Zealand captain Chris Wood said his team missed a golden opportunity to beat their Trans-Tasman rivals.

“I’m very disappointed, it was one of those games where we could have done a lot better,” Wood said dejectedly.

“We just have to work on it and be ready for Sunday.”


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