Australia sinks Tahiti
Australia Soccer Association
Australia flexed its muscle at the Oceania Nations Cup/World Cup qualifying tournament being played in Adelaide, with a 9-0 thrashing of Tahiti at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Not once did Frank Farina's men seemed troubled en route to their biggest ever win over their Polynesian rivals, with Mile Sterjovski netting a hat trick amongst a brace to Tim Cahill (pictured right) and other goals to Josip Skoko, David Zdrilic, Scott Chipperfield plus an own goal.
When Millwall midfielder Cahill opened the Qantas Socceroos account, the Tahitians could not help but stumble through the remainder of the game to record an embarrassing loss that has effectively rubbished their stage three ambitions.
Cahill's opener always seemed inevitable and arrived courtesy of a corner from Stan Lazaridis on 14 minutes.
The gutsy midfielder, playing in a wide role on the right, emphatically headed home a typically pinpoint ball from Lazaridis to signal the start of a Qantas Socceroo whitewash that was never halted by the hapless Tahitians.
Gerard Kautai's men seemed contented to throw all but one of their eleven behind the ball in a vein attempt to arrest Australia's inevitable goal avalanche.
It almost worked as they continually frustrated the Australian's, until Turkish based midfielder Skoko netted the Qantas Socceroos second with a sweetly struck drive from the corner of the penalty box.
Australia's third came from the head of Tahitian midfielder Simon, who unwittingly nodded on another superlative delivery from Lazaridis.
Farina introduced three players at half time, with Patrick Kisnorbo, making his first appearance since 2002, joined by Mile Sterjovski and Ahmad Elrich in replacing Lazaridis, Skoko and John Aloisi.
Sterjovski `s impact was almost instantaneous, as within six minutes, the new FC Basel striker had scored the first of his three goals, that was also his first for the Qantas Socceroos.
Four minutes earlier, Cahill scored his second goal of the night, again with a header, from Chipperfield's precise corner kick.
Tahiti's only meaningful shot at goal came shortly after with former Brisbane Strikers striker Felix Tagawa blasting a free kick over the bar.
The Sterjovski show continued in the 62nd minute, when he superbly volleyed home Tony Vidmar's cross from the left and he completed his hat trick on 74 minutes, when he poked home after a scramble in the box.
Australia's six-goal second half rout was rounded out by goals to David Zdrilic and Scott Chipperfield in the final five minutes.
Despite the obvious gulf in class between the sides, Farina was pleased with the intensity maintained by his side throughout the ninety minutes.
"I'm pleased with how the players kept up the pressure and the intensity," said Farina of the Qantas Socceroos second consecutive win.
"You can tend to drop off in games like that."
Farina, clearly a more satisfied man than the last time Australia sweated out an injury time win over Tahiti, had nothing but positive notions to spout of his charges.
"I thought the second half they maintained that (pressure and intensity) and worked right through to the end," said Farina
"No one was just stopping. If we learnt anything, we learnt that players can do that.
"Everyone worked really hard."
The gargantuan victory takes the Qantas Socceroos to outright first place in the 2004 OFC Nations Cup and they next face Fiji at the Marden Sports Complex in two days time.
Australia 9 Tahiti 0
Australia: Z Kalac (gk), J North, T Vidmar, S Chipperfield, J Skoko (A Elrich 46'), J Aloisi (M Sterjovski 46'), T Cahill, S Lazaridis (P Kisnorbo 46'), V Grella, D Zdrilic, A Madaschi
Goals: Cahill 14', 47', Skoko 43', Simon 45' OG, Sterjovski 51', 62', 74', Zdrilic 85', Chipperfield 90'
Tahiti: D Tapeta (gk), A Tchen, P Kugogne, J Li Waut, S Garcia, B Mataitai, A Temataua, F Teuira, V Simon (L Marmouyet 62'), F Tagawa, H Labaste (T Neuffer 59')
Updated: Mon, May 31, 2004 10:17:43 PM AEST
All photos copyright Getty Images
Last Modified on 01/06/2004 06:13