UAE midfielder Ali Sameen will curse his luck after deflecting a strike from Hrustic which led to the deciding goal of the game. The Socceroos are now only one game away from booking their fifth consecutive ticket to the FIFA World Cup.
The Australians opened scoring with Jackson Irvine whose close range strike in the 53rd minute put them one up. Caio Canedo restored parity for the home side with a fierce shot at Matthew Ryan’s goal.
The Socceroos upped the tempo in the second half and were largely frustrated for most parts of the half, but their pressure finally paid off when Hrustic put the ball in the net in the closing stages of the game.
The Emirati boys had opportunities of their own, with Abdallah Suhail the main threat causing all sorts of problems for the Australian backline. The forward had two strikes blocked out by Matthew Ryan at his near post in what was an empty first half.
The Emirati goalkeeper Eisa made some remarkable saves to deny the Australians in both halves. Most outstanding of them all was the block he made to deny substitute Jamie McLaren on the 80th minute. However he was powerless to deny Hrustic four minutes later.
It was a joyous outing for Australia who are already looking forward to their South American opponents Peru, who are expected to put up a much tougher fight.
“We showed good character, I think we dominated the majority of the game and we took the chances when they came,” said an elated Martin Boyle, winger for the Australian national team. “It’s only a half done job. We have to dust ourselves down, prepare and we will go again.”
The Australians will hope to make lighter work of the Peruvians as opposed to the toil they faced in the fixture against the UAE.
The match will take place on June 14 and the winner will go on to Group D to battle against France, Denmark and Tunisia.