SYDNEY, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Mark Viduka celebrated his promotion to Australia captain with two goals in a 7-0 thrashing of the Solomon Islands in the first leg of their Oceania World Cup qualifying final on Saturday.
The striker found the net twice in the first half after Jason Culina had opened the scoring with a long-range strike in the 20th minute.
Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, substitute Archie Thompson and Brett Emerton all joined in the rout with second half goals after the Solomon Islands were reduced to 10 men with the sending off of Nelson Kulifa.
'We knew it was going to be that sort of game but we still needed to go out there and be professional and put as many as we could past them,' Viduka said.
The second leg will be played in Honiara on Tuesday with the overall winner to play off against the fifth-placed South American team in November for a spot in next year's World Cup finals in Germany.
'When you play a team like that you have to end up with a number and seven is not too bad,' Australia's new Dutch coach Guus Hiddink said.
'In general, I am quite happy but we got a bit sloppy at times and there are things we can improve on because our next (South American) opponents will be more challenging.'
Australia, fielding a team packed with European-based professionals, were overwhelming favourites to beat their amateur opponents and had no trouble piling up the goals despite blowing several chances.
The Australians spent most of the match attacking inside their opponent's half, conceding just one corner while the Solomon Islands did not manage a single shot on goal.
Viduka, who scored twice for Middlesbrough in the English Premier League's last round, continued his streak with a spectacular bicycle-kick goal in the 37th minute. He slotted home a more regulation header six minutes later.
He scored again in the second half only to be denied a hat-trick after being ruled offside.
Culina and Thompson also scored from great strikes but Cahill, Chipperfield and Emerton were all gifted goals with the Solomon Islands keeper Francis Aruwafu fumbling the ball.
The Solomon Islands' misery was completed when Kulifa was shown the red card in the 53rd minute for a second booking over a clumsy tackle.