Printer Friendly and PDF

Dushanbe: Socceroos stalwart Tim Cahill extended his Australia international goalscoring record as the AFC Asian Cup holders maintained their 100% record in Group B of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers with a 3-0 win over Tajikistan on Tuesday.

Neither side could take the initiative at the Central Stadium in the Tajik capital until Mark Milligan made the breakthrough after 57 minutes, with the UAE-based midfielder scoring his fourth international goal and first since finding the net against Oman en route to the Socceroos being crowned continental champions on home soil back in January.

Australia extended their advantage in the 73rd minute through the evergreen goal-machine Tim Cahill (pictured) - who had reclaimed the captain’s armband after Socceroos’ skipper Mile Jedinak was ruled out through injury - before the 35-year-old took his international tally to 41 as Tajik keeper Alisher Dodov was beaten for the third time in the match one minute into second-half stoppage time.

The win maintained Australia’s two-point lead over Jordan, who recorded their second win of the campaign earlier on Tuesday with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bangladesh in Dhaka as the 2003 South Asian champions slipped to their third defeat in four matches to sit bottom of the table with one point below Tajikistan on goal difference.

The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.

Photo: FFA

randomness