Asian Cup: Socceroos beat India

Former Melbourne City prodigy Jordan Bos scored his first international goal as the Socceroos opened their Asian Cup campaign with a sluggish 2-0 win over India.

Bos, who entered the contest at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar as a second-half substitute, found the back of the net with his first touch of the game in the 73rd minute to double Australia’s lead.

Fellow substitute Riley McGree set up the opportunity, making a dangerous run to the byline before cutting the ball back into the path of Bos, with Belgium-based 21-year-old netting from close range.

Earlier, midfielder Jackson Irvine put the Socceroos – who struggled in attack in the first half – ahead in the 50th minute.

However, the goal only came after an error from India goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu, who made a clumsy attempt to deal with a cross from Martin Boyle.

The keeper flapped at the ball and could only knock it into the path of Irvine, who made the most of the gift presented to him to score his 10th goal for the Socceroos.

It was a goal that settled the nerves of the Australians, who many expected to thrash an Indian side sitting at 102 in the world rankings.

Despite dominating possession in the first half, the Australians – who had a 12-0 advantage in corners in the opening stanza – still had not broken the deadlock by halftime.

And while India rarely threatened in attack, they had the best first-half chance in the 16th minute.

A cross from Nikhail Poojary floated over the head of Socceroos defender Harry Souttar and into the path of India’s captain Sunil Chhetri, who timed his run to perfection.

However, the veteran striker failed to hit the target with his header.

The Socceroos’ first opportunity came five minutes later when midfielder Connor Metcalfe unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area that was parried to safety by goalkeeper Sandhu.

Australia continued to attack but Metcalfe, Boyle and midfielder Keanu Baccus all wasted further chances before halftime.

However, Irvine’s goal five minutes into the second half finally gave Australia the advantage, with Bos sealing the three points for the Socceroos, whose next Group B match is against Syria on Thursday night.

Five changes

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold made five changes to the team that started in Australia’s 2-0 friendly win over Bahrain last Sunday.

Captain and goalkeeper Mat Ryan recovered from a fractured cheekbone to return between the posts in place of Joe Gauci.

In defence, centre-back Kye Rowles and left-back Aziz Behich were respectively preferred to Cameron Burgess and Bos.

Baccus was reinstated in Australia’s midfield at the expense of Aiden O’Neill, while in attack, Boyle was recalled, displacing Sam Silvera in the starting team.

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