A last-gasp winner from substitute Mathew Leckie gave the Socceroos a 1-0 win over Greece in front of 38,682 brave fans in Sydney last night.
The game was played on a seriously waterlogged pitch after heavy rain throughout the day, but the quality never wavered as the impressive crowd cheered both sides on.
Melbourne Victory’s right back Jason Geria played all 90 minutes in his international debut while his fellow debutant, the 19-year-old Alex Gersbach, impressed in his 10 minutes.
The Aussies created plenty of chances but failed to capitalise until the last kick of the game. The Greeks, missing their star striker Kostas Mitroglou, had few goal-scoring opportunities, rarely troubling the Socceroos keeper, Mat Ryan.
Australia’s Nathan Burns missed a one-on-one chance before Trent Sainsbury hit the post in the second half. In the 89th minute it looked as if Tim Cahill had saved the day by nodding in Gersbach’s corner. He was wheeling off in ecstatic celebration before it was ruled the ball had hovered out of the field before curling back in.
Four minutes later, in stoppage time, Gersbach delivered some neat work on the left edge before the ball found its way to Leckie, who smartly turned and unleashed a low strike into the bottom-left corner to seal the result seconds before the final whistle.
First blood to the Socceroos in the Dodoni Series. The sides now turn their attention to their second and last clash in Melbourne on Tuesday. – Patrick Staveley
Photo shows Alex Gersbach attacking, courtesy of Scott Staveley.