Iran :Mahmoud Bayati
Australia: Zvonimir Rasic
SYDNEY. â€” Australia is virtually assured of a place Âˇn next yearâ€™s World Cup soccer finals Âˇn Munich after its 3-0 victory over Iran at the Sydneyâ€™s Sports Ground on Saturday.
The two match tie against Iran seems sewn up and the final elimination round is against South Korea which has never beaten Australia.
Iran must win Fridayâ€™s return match in Tehran by four goals to qualify for the final elimination round against South Korea.
And since Zvonimir Rasic took over as national coach in 1970, Australia has never been beaten by more than three goals. He will hardly allow It to happen in Tehran.
South Korea has failed to beat Australia in the five matches the teams have played since 1967.
The scores have been 1967â€” 3.2: 1969 (World Cupâ€”2-1, 1-1; 1972â€”1-1, 2-0.
I was only a mediocre Performance by Australia on Saturday and Iran appeared highly overrated.
Its strikers did not have a single scoring opportunity and its defense was shaky.
Only former Bayern Munich player Reza Adelkhani and Captain Parviz Ghelchkhani showed above average ability.
The Australians were faster, stronger and more purposeful but played shoddy soccer after scoring their second goal five seconds after halftime.
Their midfield trio of John Warren, Ray Richards and Jim Mackay was disappointing.
Richards , usually the dynamo of the team, said after the match:
â€śIt was not one or my best games. I could have done much better.â€ť
Warren, who had been ill the previous night, was virtually unsighted during the Second half and Mackay. the best of the trio, was not as imaginative or as mobile as usual.
Coach Rasic, who has pinned his hope on a winning midfield, said: â€śif you can win 3-0 with players below form you must be doing fairly well.â€ť
â€śAnyway, our full-backs, Col Curran and Doug Utjesenovic, made up for the midfield weakness with their brilliant overlapping â€ś
Indeed, Curran and Utjesenovic were the best players afield.
Adrian Alstonâ€™s opportunist goal on the 43rd minute and Peter Wilsonâ€™s five minutes from the end came from perfectly placed free kicks by Utjesenovic.
But it was Attila Abonyl who electrified the crowd of 30,881.
He didnâ€™t get enough of the ball after the interval but In the first half he was the outstanding player of the match.
In probably his finest 45minutes of International football, Abonyl celebrated this 27th birthday by tying the Iranian defence in knots and shooting at every opportunity.
His efforts were rewarded with a goal five seconds after half-time
From the kick off , Ray Baartz won the ball, went on a mazy run towards goal and slipped the ball out to Abonyl who slammed it home from an acute angle.
â€śWe decided at half time that we will blitz the Iranians to break their spiritsâ€ť Rasic said after the match.
â€śBut after our second goal, the excitement of the day caught up with our players and many of them did not play according to plan and instructions.â€ť
Skipper Peter Wilson must have been fed up with his teammateâ€™s unproductive play. With five minutes to go he left his defensive post, positioned himself in the penalty area and headed home a 30 yard free kick by Utjesenovic.
The Australian team flew to Tehran yesterday for the return match which will be televised live by ABC on Friday night.