DOHA, June 14 (Reuters) - Australia clinched a place in the final round of Asia's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they defeated Qatar 3-1 on Saturday.
Blackburn Rovers midfielder Brett Emerton gave the visitors
the lead on 17 minutes and doubled the advantage 11 minutes
after the break. Skipper Harry Kewell added a third in the 74th
minute before Khalfan Ibrahim got a late consolation goal.
The defeat means Qatar's chance of progressing into the
final round hinge on their final must-win group match against
second placed Iraq in Dubai on June 22.
Iraq, who defeated China 2-1 earlier on Saturday, and are
level with Qatar on seven points after five matches, while
Australia top group one with 10. However Iraq have a superior
goal difference to their Middle Eastern rivals.
Australia, who came into the match reeling after their
surprise loss to Iraq last week, had goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer
to thank for maintaining the early lead. The Fulham player saved
well from Wesam Rizki, Sebastian Soria and Fabio Cesar.
Despite conceding early, the Qataris dominated most of the
first half, but having failed to capitalise were effectively
killed off by the Emerton's second goal before a defensive error
cost them the third.
'We are disappointed with the result, more so with the
scoreline,' Qatar's Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati told
'Australia are a big team and you can't afford to make
mistakes against them. Three goals show how strong they are.
Australia's Dutch coach Pim Verbeek was pleased his players
had relieved themselves of the pressure of qualification before
their last group match against China next week.
'It was a tough game. We had to win it so that we can play
the last match relaxed. The first 25 minutes we played quite
well and also scored a good goal,' Verbeek said.
'In the next 20 minutes we were a bit shaky, but our
goalkeeper came good. In the second half we played really well.
'It was a bit disappointing to concede a last-minute goal,
but the important thing is that we qualified for the next