Ireland 2 - Australia 1

The Qantas Socceroos have been defeated 2-1 in their friendly international against the Republic of Ireland played overnight at Lansdowne Rd, Dublin.

Playing for the first time since their historic win over England in February the Qantas Socceroos had the better of the first half and opened the scoring through Mark Viduka in the 49th minute before two goals in the last 20 minutes sank the Australians.

Frank Farina made three changes from that which beat England - Hayden Foxe came in for the injured Craig Moore, Marco Bresciano came in for a travel-weary Josip Skoko, with Harry Kewell's late withdrawal due to an achilles problem meaning a starting spot for Danny Tiatto.

The first half saw the Australians create a number of good openings with Marco Bresciano rocking the crossbar with a fierce 20 metre drive after just 12 minutes. Within a matter of moments Tiatto, playing his first match for Australia since mid 2001, also had two good opportunities but he was unable to convert either chance.

With Chelsea star Damien Duff well shackled by Qantas Socceroo fullback Lucas Neill, the home side were restricted to just one genuine sight of goal in the first half with Robbie Keane forcing a good save from Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Viduka put Australia in the lead four minutes after the interval when he finished coolly from close range after a pinpoint Stan Lazaridis cross from the left flank.

Viduka could have made it 2-0 some 10 minutes later but was unable to convert a 'one-on-one' with opposition goalkeeper Nick Colgan closing the angle down well. Bresciano's follow up shot was also well saved by the Irish custodian.

The home side started to get on top midway through the second half and finally broke through in the 74th minute when Manchester United's John O'Shea headed in from close range after Ian Harte's free kick from near the corner flag.

The winner for the Irish finally came in the 81st minute when a clever ball over the top by Harte found substitute Clinton Morrison in the clear and he somehow managed to roll the ball past Schwarzer and into the net despite the despairing efforts of Tony Vidmar to prevent the ball entering the goal.

Despite the result Socceroo coach Frank Farina was pleased with his side's performance in what was their first senior international against the Republic of Ireland "It's very disappointing to lose the game after the manner in which we played," he said.

"We had three one on ones, hit the bar, that's life, that's football. But the manner in which we played was very, very good. We had a period in the second-half in which they got on top of us.

"The pleasing thing was that we created a lot of opportunities and not to get anything out of the game is very disappointing."

The Qantas Socceroos will be in action again next month when they take on Jamaica in England in a friendly international to be played at Reading's Madejski Stadium on Sunday 7th September, kick off 2pm (London time).

Written by Soccer Australia