Honduras 0-0 Australia 2018 World Cup Russia play-off: match report, goals, action
The two sides could not be seperated in the first leg of the World Cup qualifier as they return to Syndey and play again next week to see who goes to Russia.Barcelona-Getafe live: LaLiga Santander matchweek 23
Honduras 0-0 Australia
Australia and Honduras will have to do it all over again in Sydney with 90 minutes between them and the World Cup in Russia 2018 next summer.
On a torn up field in San Pedro Sula, both teams struggled to created chances and while Australia looked the better team all things considered, they were playing within themselves due to the pitch and the fact that they wanted to keep a clean sheet.
They might be a little more confident of a result back in Sydney given how far Honduras have to travel for the away leg and due to the fact that the pitch will surely be more conducive to a gameplan.
It ended 0-0 with neither Honduras or Australia pushing for a goal and the game is on a knife-edge heading for the second leg.
Honduras vs Australia live stream online: latest
Honduras vs Australia live stream online: match preview
Honduras host Australia in the 40,000-capacity Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula on Friday in the first leg of the inter-confederation playoff between the nations to earn a place in the World Cup finals in Russia next year.
Australia are playoff veterans but have a chequered history in the final round of qualifiers, having lost five between 1966 and 2002 with only one group stage appearance breaking the trend in 1974. Since South Korea and Japan, the Socceroos have qualified for the last three consecutive tournaments and reached the knock-out stages in Germany in 2006, losing 1-0 to Italy in the last 16.
Honduras are aiming for a third consecutive World Cup after qualifying for 2010 and 2014 having only been involved in a single finals beforehand, in Spain in 1982. However, unlike their opponents on Friday, Los Catrachos have never been beyond the group stage.
“The ideal scenario would be to take a several goal advantage [into the second leg], but the main thing is that they don’t score against us at home,” said Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto ahead of the match. “It’s a game of 180 minutes, it won’t be decided in one and we have to work on the basis of both, we have to plan our strategy in that way.”
Pinto will be without Wigan Athletic legend and talismanic captain Maynor Figueroa and striker Alberth Elis, both of whom are suspended for the opening leg, but is expected to welcome back recent injury absentees Carlo Costly, Donis Escober, Anthony Lozano and Eddie Hernández.
“Victory at home is imperative,” said Necaxa defender Brayan Beckeles. “Even if we don’t get it we can still win on the return. There are two games and it’s 180 minutes to decide who goes through, so we can’t go losing our heads on Friday.”
The big question surrounding the Socceroos ahead of the game is whether or not Melbourne City forward and Australia’s record scorer Tim Cahill will be fit to play. The former Everton striker is carrying an ankle problem from last week’s game against Sydney FC and is a doubt for the opening leg in San Pedro Sula. “I can’t promise anything, but I can promise that I’m working hard [to be fit], the 37-year-old, who has hit 50 goals in 103 internationals, said on arrival in Honduras.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou will have to contend without two other key figures, Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan, who are suspended, but the tactician does have an ace up his sleeve in the form of one of the revelations of Huddersfield’s eye-catching start to the season, Aaron Mooy.
"The way the boss wants us to play is to go all out and try and win the game," the midfielder said. "It doesn't matter if it's away or home - that's what we will do. And hopefully that will give us a good result to take back to Sydney.”
Australia have the advantage of having already come through a tough two-legged tie against Syria in the AFC playoff round, which the Socceroos won 3-2 on aggregate after Cahill’s extra time goal in Sydney.
“We’re a team that likes to play, we like to press and to have the ball for as long as possible,” said keeper Mat Ryan. “That’s what gives this side our identity.”
Honduras vs Australia live online: possible line-ups
Honduras: Donis Escober; Brayan Beckeles, Henry Figueroa, Johny Palacios, Emilio Izaguirre; Alfredo Mejía, Jorge Claros, Alex López, Michaell Chirinos; Romell Quioto, Anthony Lozano.
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Australia: Mathew Ryan; Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek, Matt Jurman, Bailey Wright; Mile Jedinak, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, Tommy Rogic, James Troisi; Tomi Juric.
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Honduras vs Australia live online: selected betting odds
Honduras are clear favourites with the bookies at evens, while Australia are at 3/1 for the win. A score draw is priced at 10/3 and in the scorer stakes you can get Carlo Costly and Eddie Hernández to his the net first at fours, with Australia striker Tomi Juric at sixes.