We need to de­liver killer blow

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - DAVID DAVUTOVIC ANAL­Y­SIS

THE Soc­ceroos pro­duced their best away dis­play un­der Ange Postecoglou on the big­gest oc­ca­sion, but the lack of cut­ting edge leaves them with a job to do on Wed­nes­day night.

All roads now lead to Rus­sia 2018, but the Soc­ceroos must re­main fo­cused to kill off Hon­duras, who ap­peared starstruck in front of their parochial 40,000-strong San Pe­dro Sula fans.

Postecoglou will now un­leash his batch of fresh­legged stars for the sec­ond leg, head­lined by sub­sti­tute Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie, Mark Mil­li­gan and Rob­bie Kruse, if he proves his fit­ness.

In scenes rem­i­nis­cent of the first away leg against Syria, the Soc­ceroos failed to land the killer blow.

Swiss-based striker Tomi Juric epit­o­mises the Soc­ceroos. His im­pres­sive all­round dis­play un­der­lines his im­prove­ment, but he still lacks that cut­ting edge that may have secured qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the group phase. That paves the way for the in­clu­sion of tal­is­man Tim Cahill.

Aus­tralia suc­cess­fully drowned out the noise to the ex­tent that Postecoglou could com­mu­ni­cate with the play­ers on the pitch.

They adopted a more di­rect style to adapt to the spongy sur­face that be­gan chop­ping up im­me­di­ately.

Aside from a nervy open­ing few min­utes, the youth­ful lineup showed great com­po­sure.

China-based Trent Sains­bury mar­shaled the de­fence ex­pertly, while cap­tain Mile Je­d­i­nak pa­trolled with as­sur­ance and Mas­simo Luongo and Aaron Mooy di­rected traf­fic fur­ther afield.

The equa­tion is sim­ple for the Soc­ceroos – they must win in Wed­nes­day’s re­turn leg at ANZ Stadium to ad­vance to the World Cup.

The Hon­durans ar­rive in Sydney al­most 24 hours later than the Soc­ceroos. It’s half­time of this all-or-noth­ing World Cup play­off and Aus­tralia are in pole po­si­tion.

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