2018 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Three
  • Tomi Juric (7', 36')
  • Tomas Rogic (64')
  • Salem Al-Dosari (23')
  • Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (45'+2')

Tom Rogic inspires Australia to WC qualifying win over Saudi Arabia

Australia 3-2 Saudi Arabia: Rogic scores screamer (2:50)

Australia prevailed 3-2 against Saudi Arabia courtesy of Tom Rogic's second half stunner. (2:50)

Australia bulldozed a direct path towards the 2018 World Cup with Celtic's Tom Rogic delivering a precious 3-2 win against Saudi Arabia in Thursday night's qualifier.

Striker Tomi Juric scored a first-half brace, twice giving the Socceroos a lead before 29,785 spectators at Adelaide Oval.

But the Saudis twice equalised before Rogic's thundering match-winner, which could prove the decisive moment in Australia's bid for direct passage to next year's World Cup in Russia.

With two group games remaining, the Socceroos are now level on points with the Saudis and leaders Japan, who have a game in hand.

The Socceroos meet Japan away on August 31 and then host lowly Thailand on Sep. 5. Win both, and they'll likely sneak into second spot in the group.

The top two nations in the group secure spots in next year's showpiece tournament with the third-placed country pitched into playoff rounds.

Juric's opening goal, in the seventh minute, was gifted by Saudi keeper Yasser Al Mosailem, who slipped when trying to put the ball back in play.

The miskick went to Juric, who controlled with his right foot, and then volleyed with his left from 30 yards into an unguarded net.

But in the 23rd minute, Saudi Arabia struck back. Salem Al Dawsari clinically finished a rapid give-and-go with teammate Mohammed Al Sahlawi which sliced through Australia.

But Juric again gave Australia a lead when he scored his second in the 36th minute.

After Rogic played Mathew Leckie into space, Leckie tore down the right wing. Nearing the byline, he arrowed a cross to Juric who coolly headed into the net.

But in first-half stoppage time, the Saudis again equalised. Taiseer Al Jassam nodded into the path of Al Sahlawi who, with a swinging right foot, beat charging Socceroos' goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

Australia attacked relentlessly in the second half and were rewarded in the 64th minute with Rogic's moment of magic.

Played in by the influential Aaron Mooy, Rogic was afforded time and space by the Saudis. From just outside the box, he launched a ferocious left-footer which gave the keeper no chance.

WC Qual - AFC News