Dominant performances from Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshire made a late winner from Brett Emerton enough for a depleted Socceroos side to battle back and beat Oman. An Oman goal in the 17th minute was not enough to hold off the Socceroos, with both Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton finding the net for the Aussies.
The game started badly for the Socceroos, as young Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams saw straight red for a clumsy challenge on Oman striker Emad Al Hosni after just 15 minutes. Not content with having the Socceroos a man down, Oman promptly converted the penalty that had ensued from Williams reckless challenge. It wasn’t all bad news for Australia, as Mark Schwarzer saved the penalty with the first of many heroics saves of the night, but Khalifa Ayil netted from the rebound.
But brilliance from Mark Bresciano in the 42nd minute saw a cross sail over Luke Wilkshire, who promptly levelled the game. Schwarzer’s heroics then saw Australia stay in the game, with the Fulham number one twice made close range saves. Then, in the 81st minute the Socceroos broke down the left, with Wilkshire setting David Carney free down the wing, before Carney crossed to Emerton, who promptly thumped it home.
The win marked a great comeback for Australia, which, finger crossed, will see them (with a little help from their A League counterparts) into the Asian Cup. Lucas Neill summed up the game by saying:
“I think it just summed up Australians tonight. The going got tough, we got our heads down, saw a very difficult challenge, took it on face to face and we were victorious. We really had to dig deep at times, rode a little bit of luck, but in the end really can be happy with they way we performed and won the game…Bring on South Africa.”