x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Ugly victory leaves Australia sitting pretty

Tim Cahill, the Australia midfielder, was unapologetic following his side's fortunate late win in Bahrain.

Tim Cahill, the Australia midfielder, was unapologetic following his side's fortunate late win in Bahrain, claiming the win was a marker of how far his nation have progressed. The Socceroos maintained their 100 per cent record in Group One via an injury-time winner from Mark Bresciano. Their coach, Pim Verbeek admitted afterwards his side had not deserved the three points, but Cahill believes winning ugly is a good habit to be in. "It was a very lucky victory, a 92nd-minute winner, but we have to take that," said Cahill, who caught a 3am flight after the game from Manama to Dubai in oder to launch his Elite Sporting Academy yesterday.

"Years ago that would have gone against us and played a big part in us not qualifying. But we have to get on with it, it is a big part of football. "If they don't finish their chances, they are going to get punished. We are just thankful we walked out winners." Cahill, believes Australia are reaping the rewards after defecting to Asian competition two years ago. "We play a lot more competitive games, and really compete with the big teams in Asia, which is different because they have technically gifted, great players," he added.

"They have great coaches and invest a hell of a lot of money in the way they build their teams. I'm very impressed, but not surprised, about the way they conduct themselves on the pitch. I was very impressed by the way Bahrain played and they were very unlucky not to get something from the game." Under-fire Japan coach Takeshi Okada thanked his players after a 3-0 win over Bruno Metsu's Qatar in Doha. Okada, 52, said. "They all stood up. We expected a tough game but the players didn't flinch or try to hide."

pradley@thenational.ae