The Socceroos have kicked off their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in style, blitzing Kuwait 3-0 in Kuwait City on Tuesday night.

Graham Arnold’s men scored all three goals in the first half in extremely challenging conditions.

Matthew Leckie opened the scoring in the 7th minute, tapping the ball away after Jackson Irvine’s shot missed the target following a corner. The goal may have come as a surprise for Leckie, given how quickly the ball came at him, however this ensured that Australia started the game off strongly.

Leckie doubled his tally for the match in the 30th minute, again finding himself in the right spot. After Irvine directed a header from a corner, Leckie blasted in a shot close to the goal line and sent the Socceroos 2-0 up.

Aaron Mooy made it three in the 38th minute, firing a shot from outside the box that beat Kuwait goalkeeper Sulaiman Abdulghaffoor and hit the top right corner. Mooy’s goal was the first for his country since March 2016 and gave Australia a comfortable lead at the break.

Mat Ryan was called into action in the 58th minute, making an acrobatic save to deny a Yousef Naser shot from outside the box.

The victory was an important one that earned the Socceroos three points away from home and in the stifling heat, with an encounter against Nepal next month at Canberra Stadium to come.

Nepal fell to Kuwait 7-0 in their first match meaning that barring any complacency, the Socceroos should get the job done comfortably.

An away encounter against Chinese Taipei will take place a few days later, who currently find themselves at the bottom of the group.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com

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