Australia 1-0 Paraguay
Australia’s new coach, Holger Osieck, continued his good start to his tenure with this creditable 1-0 home win over Paraguay at the Sydney Football Stadium.
That makes it two wins and a draw from three starts for the German supremo.
Paraguay looked good to begin with and dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes, but their only chance of the first half came when Nelson Valdez’s snap shot early on almost beat Mark Schwarzer, but the Australian captain was up to it. Valdez had scored both goals recently when Spanish La Liga newcomers Hercules beat Barcelona 2-0 at the Nou Camp.
Australia soon got into their stride, however, and midway through the first half created some excellent chances.
Tim Cahill got onto the end of Luke Wilshire’s free-kick and his header was well saved at the far post by Diego Barreto.
Jason Culina then sent in a fierce shot that Barreto did well to save, while Josh Kennedy headed another good chance wide.
Near the end of the first half, Australia had a genuine claim for a penalty when Mile Jedinak was pulled down inside the box by Victor Caceres, but referee Yuichi Nishimura waved play on.
Australia’s goal came in the 53rd minute. A cross from the right came off the back of Kennedy as he fell and dropped into the path of Blackpool fullback David Carney, who hit a bending left-footed volley inside the near post for the fourth international goal of his career.
Australia had only one scare after that, apart from a few incidents in which Paraguay players grabbed Australian opponents by the throat. In the 77th minute, Santander released Edgar Benitez down the left and he rounded Schwarzer on the left of the box and squared the ball across the goalmouth, but it was cleared by Jon McKain.
Australia survived the remaining quarter of an hour without difficulty to record a fine win over the highly rated World Cup quarterfinalists.
Before the match, Paraguay was ranked 17th in the world by FIFA, while Australia was ranked 24th.
The countries have now met five times, with Australia winning twice and three matches ending in draws.
Australia: Schwarzer - Wilkshire, North, McKain, Carney - Garcia (Brosque 90), Jedinak, Culina, Kewell (Vidisic 87) - Kennedy (McDonald 60), Cahill (McKay 76) [Substitutes not used: Thwaite, Valeri, Galekovic] [Coach: Holger Osieck]
Goals: Carney 53
Paraguay: Barreto - Bonet, Da Silva, Veron, Rodriguez (C Benitez 81) - Camacho (Martinez 54), Perez (E Benitez 66), Caceras, C Riveros (Vera 77) - Valdez (Santander 76), Orue (M Riveros 52) [Substitutes not used: Molinas, Villar] [Coach: Gerardo Martino]
Booked: C Riveros
Att: 25,210 [Sydney Football Stadium]
Ref: Y Nishimura (Japan)