Australia 3-0 China: Socceroos make it nine World Cup qualifying wins in a row

By Sports Desk September 02, 2021

Australia made it nine World Cup qualifying wins in a row on the road to Qatar 2022 with a straightforward 3-0 triumph over China at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. 

The Socceroos finished top of their group in the previous round and made a winning start to the third qualifying stage thanks to goals from Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and substitute Mitchell Duke. 

China had won their previous four qualifiers and managed to restrict their opponents to minimal opportunities in the opening quarter of the contest on neutral territory. 

But Mabil acrobatically volleyed home to give Australia the breakthrough – the goal allowed to stand despite a high boot from the winger – and Boyle fired in a second from the edge of the box less than two minutes later. 

Graham Arnold's side had a penalty shout for handball turned down, but they had a third goal that their dominance deserved with 70 minutes on the clock. 

Duke was on hand to tap home after Mabil was denied from one of his five shots on target – the joint-most of any player in a game in the 2022 Asian World Cup qualifiers – as he scored just 59 seconds after being introduced off the bench. 

That was the fastest any substitute has scored in the Asian qualifiers since Tana Chanabut for Thailand after 36 seconds against the United Arab Emirates in October 2016.

Related items

  • 'The last few laps were fun', says Verstappen after edging out Hamilton in Austin 'The last few laps were fun', says Verstappen after edging out Hamilton in Austin

    Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen enjoyed his head-to-head battle with Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix.

    Verstappen came out on top in an enthralling race, pipping his title rival by 1.333 seconds in Austin.

    It marked Verstappen's first race win in the United States, with Red Bull's decision to pit early in Sunday's race paying off.

    Mercedes told Hamilton it was "all about the final three laps" and, though the reigning world champion came close, he just did not have enough to overcome Verstappen, who takes a 12-point lead into the final five races.

    Verstappen has now won eight races in 2021. Only in 2016, when Hamilton lost out to Nico Rosberg despite winning 10 grands prix, has a driver who has collected at least eight victories failed to win the championship.

    Red Bull did not have it all their own way, with Hamilton coming from second on the grid to nip ahead of Verstappen with a brilliant start, but the Dutchman regained the lead and held his nerve.

    "We lost some time at the start, so we had to try and do something else," Verstappen said. "The tyre wear is quite high around this track, so we had to go aggressive but I wasn't sure if it was going to work.

    "The last few laps were fun. A bit sideways through the high-speed corners, but super happy to hang on."

    Hamilton was left frustrated by Mercedes' decision to pit late during the Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago, but on this occasion, the Briton – who has won a record six times in the United States – had no such complaints.

    "Congratulations to Max, he did such a good job today," Hamilton said. "It was such a tough race, had a good start, gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day [Red Bull] just had the upper hand this weekend.

    "I couldn't have asked for more, a big thank you to my team for great pit stops, great work throughout the weekend."

    Both Verstappen and Hamilton also hailed the 140,000-strong crowd at the Circuit of the Americas, with F1 returning to Austin for the first time since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "What an amazing crowd, to perform in front of you guys is such an honour," Hamilton added. "I think this is definitely our acceptance into the US.

    "What a place to be, I hope we have more races out here, hope the sport continues to grow because you can see how great the fans are."

    Verstappen echoed the sentiment, saying: "[The fans] have been incredible. It's amazing to be here and to see so many of you around the track."

    Red Bull had a great day all-round, with Sergio Perez coming in third to seal the team's 200th F1 podium.

    Perez's efforts were made even more outstanding by the fact the water system in the Mexican's car had a malfunction, leaving him unable to take on any fluid in scorching track conditions in Texas.

    "Struggled massively. You know, since lap one, I ran out of water. I couldn't drink at all," he said.

    "I think by the middle of my second stint it was starting to get pretty difficult, you know, losing strength. I think my toughest race ever, physically."

  • Inter boss Inzaghi: Penalty only way Juve could score after Derby d'Italia controversy Inter boss Inzaghi: Penalty only way Juve could score after Derby d'Italia controversy

    Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi claimed a penalty was the only way Juventus were going to score against his side after Sunday's 1-1 draw in Serie A's first Derby d'Italia of the season.

    Inter were held by rivals Juve at San Siro, the first time since April 2019 the two teams have shared the points in the league as Massimiliano Allegri's fast-improving side earned another point in their recovery after a poor start to the 2021-22 campaign.

    Edin Dzeko's first-half strike – his seventh goal in nine top-flight outings, as many as he scored in 27 appearances last term – was cancelled out by Paulo Dybala's late penalty, his 18th converted spot-kick in his last 20 attempts.

    Inter substitute Denzel Dumfries was adjudged by VAR to have fouled Alex Sandro for Juve's 89th-minute penalty, a decision that infuriated Inzaghi so much he was sent off by referee Maurizio Mariani for throwing the ball away.

    After the game, Inzaghi was still furious as he felt defending champions the Nerazzurri deserved all three points but did offer his apologies for his reaction.

    "It was the only way in my opinion we could concede," Inzaghi told DAZN with Inter third and seven points behind Napoli and Milan, while Juve are three pointers further back. "We led the game from start to finish, we didn't concede anything to Juventus.

    "They are two points thrown away that do not please me. The referee is there two metres away, he says that everything is fine and then he is called back. Sorry for the fans, we deserved more."

    Inzaghi was then asked if Dumfries' infringement was avoidable and added: "I think so because we were clearly in numerical superiority close to the ball.

    "We were never under pressure, we controlled from start to finish. I admit my gesture was not a good image to portray, but I felt in that moment it was not a VAR incident.

    "As a coach, at the 89th minute of a game like that, with the referee right there waving play on, it's natural you’re going to get a bit angry the way I did."

    Meanwhile, Allegri – who had previously won all three away league meetings against Inzaghi – was satisfied with a point as his side extended their unbeaten run to 10 games across all competitions.

    "Before the draw, we had some actions where we didn't close and they were situations where we could have done better," Allegri started to DAZN post-match.

    "We played with more confidence against Inter, it's an important point and allows us to have the possibility - even if we have to win - to increase the streak and then to nibble a few points before the break.

    "But on Wednesday against Sassuolo we need to win. The match was beautiful, fought on a physical level and with good technical plays. We must improve in closing the action."

    However, Allegri still implored Juve to improve after conceding 11 times in their opening nine Serie A matches – the first time they have done so since 1992-93.

    "It depends on the first three games where we left eight points out of nine and it influenced us a bit," Allegri responded about Juve's form.

    "We had to start from the basics, or rather from a good defensive position.

    "We need to work on this, it's a matter of self-esteem. if we are aggressive in front, they play with a pipe in their mouth in the back."

  • Verstappen holds his nerve in Austin to take 12-point championship lead Verstappen holds his nerve in Austin to take 12-point championship lead

    Max Verstappen kept his cool in the Texas heat to hold off Lewis Hamilton and clinch a vital victory in the Formula One title race at the United States Grand Prix.

    Verstappen ended Mercedes' run of six consecutive poles at this race on Saturday and despite Hamilton – who had previously won three times from second on the grid in Austin – enjoying a fantastic start, the Red Bull driver got back ahead and held his nerve in a tense final tussle to clinch his maiden success in America by 1.3 seconds.

    Having been told by his Mercedes team that it was "all about the last three laps", Hamilton trailed by just 3.046 seconds heading into the final 10 at the Circuit of the Americas, which did not host a race last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The reigning world champion, who has won more races (six) in the United States than any other driver, cut the gap with five laps remaining, with that promise of a frantic final three laps proving correct.

    In fact, it came down to the final lap, Verstappen utilising DRS early to get an extra boost that just kept him ahead of Hamilton, as Red Bull's decision to pit the championship leader early paid off in style.

    It brought up an eighth race win of the season for Verstappen, and a drive described by his team as "sheer class" propelled the Dutchman 12 points clear. 

    Red Bull had a great day all-round, with Sergio Perez coming in third to seal the team's 200th F1 podium, though Hamilton did take an extra point for the fastest lap.

    Charles Leclerc took fourth place for Ferrari, while Valtteri Bottas overcame Carlos Sainz late on to grab sixth place behind Daniel Ricciardo – the latter pair having clipped on lap 43.

    Verstappen matches Mansell

    Verstappen has now equalled Nigel Mansell as the driver to have recorded the second most victories with a Honda engine, on 13, behind only the late Ayrton Senna (32). 

    With eight wins to his name in 2021, victory is on Verstappen's side. Apart from Hamilton in 2016, who won 10 without claiming the title, all drivers who have won at least eight races in a season went on to seal the championship.

    Alonso's unhappy Austin hunting ground

    Only in Belgium (16, three podiums) has Fernando Alonso raced on more occasions without a win than in the United States (13, two podiums). 

    There was no change in that record on Sunday as the Alpine driver was forced to retire due to a broken rear wing.

    IN THE POINTS

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
    2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1:333
    3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +42:223
    4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +52:246
    5. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +1:16:854
    6. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +1:20:128
    7. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +1:23:545
    8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1:24:395
    9. Yuki Tsuonda (AlphaTauri) +1 LAP
    10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1 LAP

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 287.5
    2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 275.5
    3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 185
    4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 150
    5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 149

    Constructors

    1. Mercedes 460.5
    2. Red Bull 437.5
    3. McLaren 254
    4. Ferrari 250.5
    5. Alpine 104

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    Mexico is next up to start a triple-header that also includes trips to Brazil and Qatar in November. Only five grands prix remain in what is shaping up to be a sensational title race.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.