Photo Special – Australia 2 – 1 New Zealand

by Neil Sherwin

Australia grabbed a late victory over neighbours New Zealand in their last game on home soil before heading off to South Africa to prepare for the World Cup Finals.

Both nations fielded strong sides in front of a crowd of over 55,000, though both Mark Schwarzer and Harry Kewell were absent for the hosts through injury.

New Zealand took the lead at the Melbourne Cricket Ground through Chris Killen, who fired past Adam Federici in the Socceroos’ goal, in a fiery first half that saw Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano fortunate to stay on the field for poor tackles on Leo Bertos.

The All Whites almost doubled their lead five minutes into the second half but Rory Fallon’s volley flew wide of substitute Brad Jones’ right hand post, while at the other end, Mark Milligan was just off target with a low drive from the edge of the area.

It was the Socceroos who did find the net after 55 minutes when Dario Vidošić pounced on a fortuitous loose ball in the box to fire past goalkeeper Mark Paston for his first international goal.

New Zealand should have taken the lead for a second time soon after when Fallon was left free to meet Tommy Smith’s cross but his header was straight at Jones.

The home side snatched a rather undeserved win with the last kick of the game when Brett Holman latched onto a beautiful dink over the top and finished coolly.

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