'Absolute disgrace': Socceroos fans rage over 'shameful' scenes

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·Sports Editor
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The Socceroos, pictured here in action against Saudi Arabia.
The Socceroos got fed up with Saudi Arabia's play-acting. Image: Getty

Australians were left seething on Thursday night when Saudi Arabia dived and play-acted their way to a scoreless draw with the Socceroos in their World Cup qualifier.

There was no happy homecoming for the Socceroos as they lost defender Harry Souttar to a knee injury in the 0-0 draw in torrential rain in Sydney.

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After 763 days away from home, Australia lacked the cutting edge to get a much-needed win in Group B ahead of Wednesday's clash with China in the UAE.

While the result is not a disaster, it has certainly made things harder for Graham Arnold's men in their quest for automatic qualification.

"It's very serious. It is probably too early for me to say what it is," Arnold said of Souttar's injury.

"He's in quite a lot of pain and he's getting scans tomorrow morning, but I don't think he'll be coming to the UAE."

The Saudis were able to withstand everything Australia could conjure up, and as fatigue began to set in they looked to take advantage.

They might not have qualified for Qatar just yet, but the Saudis played like a team in tournament mode.

They defended admirably, took time out of the clock with some tactical play-acting, and then looked to counter.

Socceroos players, pictured here applauding fans after their 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia.
Socceroos players applaud fans after their 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

However fans and commentators were left raging over the theatrics, as player after player appeared to be in agony after every challenge from the Socceroos, only to be miraculously fine after drawing the foul.

“I think a little bit of frustration set in with the time wasting and the tactics from the Saudis,” Arnold said.

“You know we have to learn to be better with that. I think that was when they got a couple of their chances.”

Journalist James Dodd tweeted: “This is utterly embarrassing from Saudi Arabia. 

"Shithousery doesn’t even cover it, it’s pathetic. Offering nothing aside from theatrics.

"Socceroos will absolutely take a draw here given last 15mins.  

"For as shameful as the Saudi Arabian play acting has been they probably should have won this."

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The Saudis remain three points clear at the top of the group and Japan are likely to be the main beneficiaries from the Socceroos' wastefulness in front of 23,314 fans at a rainswept Commbank Stadium at Parramatta.

The Green Falcons were able to absorb everything Australia threw at them and turned to Salem Al-Dawsari as their attacking fulcrum down their left.

He challenged Australia at the byline and also cut infield to give the visitors their best chance as he floated a ball over the Australian defence to Salman Alfaraj.

Souttar was on hand to block the effort and Australia turned the tables.

Socceroos fans, pictured here during Australia's draw with Saudi Arabia.
Socceroos fans look on during Australia's draw with Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

While the build-up play was impressive and there was an intent to make use of the home advantage, the Socceroos failed to use the weight of possession to their benefit.

Mathew Leckie missed the chance to head home a Aziz Behich cross from close range and Ajdin Hrustic fizzed a well-weighted Martin Boyle delivery wide of the post.

Leckie and Jackson Irvine failed to convert with promising chances in the second half with Awer Mabil testing goalkeeper Mohammed Alyami from a free-kick.

Boyle was there on the follow-up but could only shoot at the keeper before a wicked deflection ricocheted off Abdulellah Al-Malki and just over the crossbar.

"We did create those chances and it was one of those nights where the ball wouldn't go in the back of the net," Arnold said.

"I can't complain about the performance and the effort, that's all you can ask for. 

"It's one game at a time, that game's over and I'm thinking about China now."

with AAP

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