Australia 2 - Paraguay 1

The LG SOCCEROOS have beaten PARAGUAY 2-1 in the third and final match of the series, at Melbourne's Olympic Park.

The Australians went on the attack from the opening minute of play, and were unlucky not to go ahead in the 16th minute, when DAVID ZDRILIC threaded a through ball to PAUL AGOSTINO, whose shot was saved by Paraguayan keeper and captain JOSE LUIS CHILAVERT.

The first goal of the series seemed almost certain in the 39th minute when DANNY TIATTO was brought down in the box earning Australia a penalty, however the opposition did enough to distract Australian captain PAUL OKON, whose spot kick sailed over the bar.

The continued Australian assault finally paid dividends two minutes into the second half, midfielder CRAIG FOSTER beating Chilavert with a left-footer to make it 1-0 to the home team.

Zdrilic then made it 2-0 just 5 minutes later after midfielder BRETT EMERTON had broken down the right and crossed to the striker, whose left footed shot again beat the Paraguayan keeper.

Paraguay pulled one back in the 58th minute, MIGUEL CACERES capitalising on a mistake from Australian keeper ZELJKO KALAC, however the introduction shortly after of strikers CLAYTON ZANE and SCOTT CHIPPERFIELD kept the attack flowing Australia's way.

In the final minute of play, the ill-tempered feeling which prevailed through the match finally boiled over, CHILAVERT being handed his second yellow card of the evening, the ensuing melee finally seeing the goalkeeper's exit from the ground, and Australia's hard fought victory.

"The Paraguayans were very solid at the back over the series and tended not to give anything away, but we always knew that when that first goal was scored, the game would open up," said LG Socceroo Coach FRANK FARINA after the game.

"The team has steadily improved over the three games, the players have gotten better playing the games as has the combination, we went out to pressurize them and win the ball, and we did just that."

written by Soccer Australia