FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying LIVE updates: Socceroos v UAE

Nathaniel Atkinson being caught out

By Michael Lynch

Nathaniel Atkinson having some real worries in this game as Australia’s new right back. The direct running and pace of Harib Suhail Al Maazmi is causing consternation every time he gets forward on the break. Twice he has got in behind to unleash shots from tight angles which Mat Ryan has been able to block. At the other end Australia has looked workmanlike, creating half chances from set pieces and crosses – the best of which fell to Kye Rowles, whose header skimmed wide – but without any real openings.

Ryan makes a save

The game is starting to open-up and some alarm bells ringing for the Socceroos. UAE struck on the counter when Harib Suhail Al Maazmi brokje down the left flank. He surged into the box and fired a stinging shot towards the near post, forcing a frantic block from Mat Ryan in the Socceroos’ goals.

Two chances in as many minutes as this match finally begins to open-up.

38th min: 0-0

Rowles misses clear chance

Young defender Kye Rowles misses a clear scoring opportunity. The Socceroos won a set piece out wide when Ali Mabkhout stepped on the foot of Craig Goodwin to go into the book. Goodwin delivered the free-kick, found the run of Rowles who wasn’t marked but the Central Coast defender failed to properly connect with the free header, glancing it across goal from metres out.

That was the first real chance of the match.

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UAE asking questions of Australia’s defence

The UAE are starting to come out of their shell. Having sat back and absorbed pressure, the Emiratis are probing through Australia’s defensive lines to test the Socceroos’ defence. They haven’t found a breakthrough or created a clear chance but they are starting to turn the tide and ask questions of this defence that has never before been tested together in a qualifier.

Striker Ali Mabkhout – the leading goalscorer in Asian qualifying – is becoming a clearer threat with UAE’s service getting closer to putting him behind Australia’s defenders.

31st min: 0-0

UAE sitting back

By Michael Lynch

This game has settled into a predictable rhythm with Australia having the most possession but UAE looking to hit them on the break. Neither side is playing with particular fluency at this stage – perhaps understandable given the stakes. Martin Boyle showed with that early run that he can get at the defence, but Australia needs to be wary of the UAE counter, which has found space on a couple of occasions.

24th min: 0-0

Mooy the metronome

What a difference Aaron Mooy makes. Having missed the last two qualifiers against Japan and Saudi Arabia, Mooy has been class in the midfield, the highlight of Australia in possession, certainly making up for his teammates’ lack of fluidity.

Aaron Mooy in action agains the UAE.

Aaron Mooy in action agains the UAE.Credit:AP

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Cautious approach from both sides

Both teams are paying one another a little bit too much respect, certainly from the neutral’s perspective. Neither have created any breakthrough while there is a sense of caution among both the Socceroos and the UAE.

Both sides sit back as soon as the other gains a foothold on possession, eager not to allow any space in behind. If there isn’t a circuit breaker soon, we could be in for a long match, few chances and even fewer goals.

UAE have the crowd

The neutral venue of Doha looks a little more like a home crowd for the UAE. The sideline is bustling with fans wearing the traditional Thawb of the UAE (and other Gulf nations) while their distinct, loud, rhythmical chanting erupts with every small spell of possession for the Emiratis. Australia must be thankful this isn’t being played in Abu Dhabi or Dubai but they aren’t the crowd favourites this morning in Doha.

15 min: 0-0

Australia in control so far

By Michael Lynch

Promising start this for the Socceroos. Lively in attack, plenty of direct running and aggressive movement. Boyle showing he is not afraid of taking on defenders. UAE playing as expected, sitting deep and looking to hit on the counter. Behich and Atkinson, the two full backs, will have to be wary although they are going to push forward in support of the attack.

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UAE on the backfoot

A great chance for the Socceroos with Jackson Irvine fouled on the edge of the area by Khalifa Al Hammadi. A poor challenge from behind, probably deserving of a yellow, but gifts Craig Goodwin a set piece. He whips it in well from a similar angle he provided a goal in last week’s friendly against Jordan, but it’s palmed away comfortably by goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.

SOcceroos have the UAE on the backfoot early.

5min: 0-0.

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