The Qantas Socceroos have been defeated 3-1 by a slick and skilful Turkish side in a passionately fought encounter at Aussie Stadium tonight.
The pedigree that brought World Cup success to the Turks was evident throughout the match, with a brace to national hero Hakan Sukur (pictured right) and a well-taken free kick to Umit Ozan canceling out Marco Bresciano’Äôs second half penalty.
The match was certainly not void of feeling; with Japanese referee Toru Kamikawa handing out as many as eight yellow cards over the ninety minutes.
Despite the defeat, the Qantas Socceroos gave a fair account of themselves in front of a healthy crowd of 28,326.
Frank Farina will look kindly upon bright performances from Simon Colosimo in his less preferred role at right back and debutant Max Vieri, who added spark to the Qantas Socceroo front line after coming on for Scott Chipperfield at half time.
However Farina lamented the goals scored by Turkey, with all coming from mistakes by the Australians.
’ÄúI thought in the first half I don’Äôt we probably came to grips with it too well, but in sating that I think the best chances that fell to them were through silly errors from us,’Äù Farina said after the match
’ÄúFirst goal was a bit soft, Schwarz (Mark Schwarzer) most probably won’Äôt make a mistake like that again for a while, as its gone underneath him.
I thought we were on top of it in the second half, Bresc (Mark Bresciano) got the penalty and then again a stupid error, a silly mistake and at this level against quality opposition you can’Äôt do it.’Äù
The first half was a tensely fought affair, eventually won by Turks in the closing stages.
Aside from a few chances, the Qantas Socceroos were completely dominated by the visitors in the first stanza, with Hasan Sas and Emre Belozoglu particularly proving difficult for the home side’Äôs makeshift defense.
The Turks much deserved halftime lead arrived in the latter stages when Fenerbahce defender Ozan blasted home a free kick from 20 metres.
Ozan’Äôs piercing drive burst through the Australian wall and underneath goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, sending the large Turkish contingent on hand into delirium.
The goal was just reward for a sustained half of constant pressure from the Turks, although Schwarzer will be filthy with himself for allowing the ball to creep under his body.
Tuncay Sanli should have put his side in front on eleven minutes, but for a superb save by Schwarzer. The Australian captain was at his sprawling best when parrying Sanli’Äôs effort after Vince Grella was dispossessed deep in the Australians half.
For Australia, Parma midfielder Bresciano (pictured left) came closest in the dying seconds when poking Josip Skoko’Äôs layoff over the crossbar from close range.
But, to the credit of Farina, the Qantas Socceroos looked a changed side after the break and fully deserved their equalizer on 49 minutes.
With Vieri joining David Zdrilic in the final third, the Qantas Socceroos had a more attacking feel about their game and this brought instant success.
Having worked his way into the Turkish half, Bresciano was brought down by goal scorer Ozan on the edge of the area following some fine touches from Vieri.
The Melbourne boy dusted himself off to convert the resultant penalty and level the scores to the delight of the spirited Australian crowd.
The Qantas Socceroos continued to press the Turks and looked capable of taking the lead, only to surrender their ascendancy in the 69th minute.
A mix up at the back from Stephen Laybutt and Bresciano gifted possession to Sas, who crossed to the near post where Sukur neatly turned the ball past Schwarzer.
The Galatasaray front man doubled his tally seven minutes later with the easiest goal he will ever score. He was able to tap the ball home virtually on the goalline after Okan Buruk headed ball towards goal from Sas’Äô cross. Schwarzer in coming out for the cross collected his own teammate Danny Tiatto, who looks to have a double fracture of the jaw.
Vieri showed his prowess in the air in the latter stages getting on the end of several Ahmad Elrich crosses, with one effort just going over the bar.
Overall Farina was disappointed with the result but was pleased with how the boys responded in the second half before giving away the second goal that killed Australia’Äôs momentum.