Qantas Socceroos win in Beirut
Tim Cahill, Matt McKay and Archie Thompson all scored as Australia notched an impressive 3-0 friendly win over Lebanon in Beirut on Friday morning.
The Qantas Socceroos were utterly dominant in the first half as Cahill and McKay scored inside 23 minutes, with playmaker Mark Bresciano particularly impressive.
And Thompson's late effort added polish to the scoreline as Australia gained a confidence boost ahead of Wednesday morning's crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Jordan.
Head coach Holger Osieck made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Scotland last month, with Rhys Williams, Brett Holman and Carl Valeri making way for Cahill, McKay and Nikita Rukavytsya in the starting side.
It meant that Alex Brosque started up front, with Rukavytsya and Kruse offering support on the wings in an attacking side.
Cahill produced the first chance of the match when he fired a left-footed effort straight at Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan on 11 minutes before the floodlights at the Saida International Stadium went out, leading to a short delay.
The visitors came out breathing fire after the restart and quickly scored through Cahill.
Bresciano set up the goal with a brilliant ball to Luke Wilkshire on the right, who whipped a tidy cross into the area allowing Cahill to rise highest and head Australia into the lead after 19 minutes.
Just four minutes later and the advantage was doubled as McKay got on the end of a superb team move.
A series of passes were sprayed around the attacking third and although the move looked like it may have broken down, Bresciano revived it with a ball out to David Carney on the left wing.
The Bunyodkor utility cut back to McKay, and although Hassan got a hand to his shot, he could not do enough to stop the ball sneaking into the corner of the net, allowing the Australian to celebrate his first goal for the national team.
Brosque then spurned a good chance, firing over the bar while Cahill again shot at Hassan.
Going forward, Australia were causing Lebanon all sorts of problems with the pace of Kruse and Rukavytsya particularly threatening.
Lebanon had fleeting moments, usually involving Roda Antar – he had an effort blocked by Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, while he also headed over in the build-up to half-time – but the Qantas Socceroos were in complete control at the break.
Lebanon's Hassan Maatouk went on a terrific run early in the second half, beating several opponents but he could only steer his left-foot shot wide of the post as Schwarzer – who was making his 100th appearance for his country – breathed a sigh of relief.
Brosque went off with 21 minutes remaining with a leg injury that looked serious before substitutes Holman and Adam Sarota wasted chances to score.
Thompson – also a substitute – made up for it though, with the Melbourne Victory forward scoring his first international goal since 2006, producing a nice left-foot finish to give Australia a winning margin that they deserved.