Ange Postecoglou got a winning start to his career as Socceroos manager as Australia managed a 1-0 win over Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night.
Australia started poorly but held on well with a number of youngsters who previously had been shut out of the squad.
A lot of attention centered on the selection for goalkeeper with this match being the first since Mark Schwarzers retirement and it was Mat Ryan given the nod in goal.
It could have been a disastrous start just five minutes in as Jason Davidson and Mat Ryan had a communication mix up as Ryan failed to come out and Davidson poked the ball towards goal forcing Ivan Franjic to run in and clear.
Australia then started to steady as the Socceroos took control of the match and two minutes after that mix up had a chance as Mark Milligan found Matthew Leckie who could only generate a corner.
Australia continued to attack and Rhys Williams did well to send Mathew Leckie clean through but a strong first touch allowed Patrick Pemberton in goal to snuff out the chance.
Set pieces were looking dangerous for the Socceroos with corners coming regularly and Mile Jedinak went close firing an impressive shot that was well saved.
Before the 15th minute there were still more chances for Australia with Dario Vidosic sending one effort wide before Pemberton saved Leckie’s effort.
Another poor bit of defensive work from Davidson with his poor clearance putting the Socceroos in trouble but they were able to work it away.
Costa Rica did manage to even things up through the latter stages of the half but were unable to create many real chances.
Two minutes before the break Australia very nearly found the opener with Mark Milligan and Robbie Kruse linking up well only for Leckie to mess up the final chance.
Leckie was back on the field after a right ankle injury that he received treatment after a challenge, he made a run on to Kruse’s cross that he couldn’t control on his volley and with the goal open he missed the target.
An A-League player had the first chance of the second half but it was for Costa Rica as Kenny Cunningham was played clean through but couldn’t hit the shot well enough to beat Ryan.
Mile Jedinak responded right away with Robbie Kruse linking up well with him who fired a powerful shot just wide.
Tim Cahill came on as a substitute midway through the second half and made his impact felt in the closing half hour.
Australia’s dominance of the match eventually told in the 69th minute as Tommy Oar sent in a corner that Cahill was able to head home for his 29th goal for Australia, equaling the record of Damien Mori.
From there Australia were able to easily hold out through the final 90 minutes for a 1-0 win to start Postecoglou’s career successfully.