Mark Bresciano scored a memorable goal that will long live in the memory of those at the Sydney Football Stadium, as the Qantas Socceroos cruised to a 2-0 win against Bahrain.
The Palermo midfielder's stunning acrobatic volley in the 24th minute, had the crowd gasping, as he stood in a similar pose to when he scored his crucial goal in the match against Uruguay at Telstra Stadium 11 months ago.
It was a match that Australia always had in control, once they took the lead after 17 minutes through John Aloisi, his 25th goal for Australia and leaves him just four behind leading goal scorer Damian Mori.
The win secures top spot on the group table and almost certainly a seeding at the Asian Cup finals next July.
However the night ultimately was a frustrating one for the home side, and the 36,606 fans at Sydney Football Stadium, as Australia couldn't add to their early goals. This despite dominating territory and possession for the entire match, against an inexperienced, but well organised Bahraini side.
As expected Bahrain put as many men behind the ball as possible and play on the counter attack and after a few anxious moments at the start for Australia, they soon settled down.
After applying most of the early pressure the breakthrough came in the 17th minute, when a series of short passes on the edge of the box, saw Bresciano feed Aloisi and he took one touch before toe-poking his shot home.
Bresciano then saw a shot sprayed wide, while a mistake by Jason Culina saw Al Chuban get into the penalty area and force a save from Schwarzer.
However the moment of the match came soon after, when Chipperfield's crossed to the back post for the excellent Sterjovski. With Aloisi appealing for a penalty after being clearly dragged down, Sterjovski half-vollyed the ball back across goal, where Bresciano flung himself horizontally in the air and hit the perfect volley that thundered into the back of the net.
"I am happy I reacted quick enough, because it came to me pretty quick," said Bresciano.
"I actually scored one a couple of weeks at club level pretty similar, so I have been lucky enough they have come off for me."
"It was tough for us, because we knew at the start they were going to stack up the defence and make it hard for us to break them down. We were patient enough to wait for the right opportunities and we got these two goals.
"I thought we could have got more, but at the end its not important how many goals we scored, but its important that we won," he added.
But from that time on it was to be nothing but frustration, as the Bahrain players started to niggle the Australians and slow down play as much as they could.
Aloisi had the ball in the back of the net again on the half hour with a fine header, but was ruled marginally offside.
The next serious chance came in the 57th minute, when Chipperfield completely miskicked a Sterjovski cross with only the keeper to beat.
Three minutes later Sterjovski was inches from making it 3-0 when he ran onto a great long pass and hit a smashing volley from the corner of the box that hit the underside of the bar.
The match then deteriorated into a stop-start affair with the referee continually pulling up play and having to get the stretcher on with repeated regularity for the Bahrain players, who were going down like nine-pins.
written by Football Federation Australia