Socceroos move one step closer to World Cup after 'insane' goal

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Ajdin Hrustic, pictured here smashing in a thunderbolt as the Socceroos beat UAE 2-1.
Ajdin Hrustic smashed in a thunderbolt as the Socceroos beat UAE 2-1. Image: Channel 10/Getty

The Socceroos have moved one step closer to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup after Ajdin Hrustic's incredible strike from outside the box gave Australia a 2-1 win over UAE.

Hrustic's 84th minute strike, which took a heavy deflection on its way into the net, came after Jackson Irvine had opened the scoring for the Socceroos in the 53rd minute of Wednesday morning's play-off match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Doha.

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Australia will now face Peru in next week's inter-continental play-off in Qatar, with the winner of that match securing their place at the World Cup in November.

It would be the fifth-straight time the Socceroos have qualified for the World Cup if they can beat Peru.

Irvine's strike was almost immediately cancelled out by Caio Canedo's equaliser for the UAE in the 57th minute, but Graham Arnold's men rallied to find the late winner.

It came from Hrustic's left boot in the 84th-minute after a corner was deflected out to the the edge of the box.

Hrustic's thunderbolt took a heavy deflection off Ali Salmeen to leave goalkeeper Khalid Eisa completely stranded.

"It's Ajdin Hrustic who just smashes it," Andy Harper said in commentary.

"He unleashes a nuclear weapon on the UAE goal...what a wonderful strike."

Ajdin Hrustic, pictured here after scoring for the Socceroos against UAE.
Ajdin Hrustic celebrates after scoring for the Socceroos against UAE. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Fellow commentators and fans flocked to social media in awe of the wonder goal.

Robert Grasso tweeted: “What a goal!!!!! One of the best in Socceroos history given what’s on the line.

"Thunderbolt on the volley from Hrustic and deflection. Superb! Just superb.”

Robbie Cornthwaite wrote: “Get in! What a pure volley!”

Socceroos one step closer to World Cup qualification

Despite Arnold's pre-game insistence his team needed to bring out their nasty side, Australia were oddly passive in the opening half.

The Socceroos failed to muster a shot on target in a cagey display as lively winger Harib Abdalla tormented right-back Nathaniel Atkinson.

Abdalla twice ran free down the left in the opening half only to be denied both times by Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan.

That pattern repeated early in the second half when Abdalla bolted free past Bailey Wright and Atkinson, only to again be thwarted by Ryan.

Irvine opened the scoring in the 53rd minute when Martin Boyle found space inside the box and crossed for the midfielder to sweep home from point-blank range.

Ajdin Hrustic, pictured here being mobbed by teammates after his goal for the Socceroos against UAE.
Ajdin Hrustic is mobbed by teammates after his goal for the Socceroos against UAE. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia's lead didn't last long however, Canedo lashing home from the edge of the six-yard area after the Socceroos failed to deal with an Abdalla cross just four minutes later.

Craig Goodwin had a great opportunity to restore Australia's lead in the 60th minute after he was found unmarked at the back post but the Adelaide United winger blazed his effort over the bar.

Substitute Jamie Maclaren also forced UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa into a sharp one-handed save in the 80th minute as Australia pressed for a late winner.

“We have put so much work in and we have been working our ass off so to say. And we conceded a goal and we shouldn’t have," Hrustic said after the match.

"We kept going, kept fighting and we took our chance, and the goal for Australia was for all the boys, for the staff, because we have been through a lot and it hasn’t been easy.

"I don’t think everyone realises how much work we put in, so I’m happy, really happy.”

with AAP

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