In Summary
  • Despite speculation that veteran striker Tim Cahill could feature after a recent ankle knock, the Australian record scorer remained on the bench throughout.
  • Cahill's cutting edge was sorely missed as Juric butchered a one-on-one chance in the first 45 minutes before squandering a free header in the second half.

SAN PEDRO SULA

Australia edged closer to a place in the 2018 World Cup finals on Friday after grinding out a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Honduras in their Asia-CONCACAF playoff.

Socceroos striker Tomi Juric missed golden chances in each half as the Australians dominated a physical Honduras side without managing to find a precious away goal at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

Nevertheless Ange Postecoglou's men will return to Australia for Wednesday's second leg confident of reaching a fourth consecutive World Cup after a controlled display in hot, humid conditions.

Despite speculation that veteran striker Tim Cahill could feature after a recent ankle knock, the Australian record scorer remained on the bench throughout.

Cahill's cutting edge was sorely missed as Juric butchered a one-on-one chance in the first 45 minutes before squandering a free header in the second half.

Australia had the better of a tense first-half, with Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy dominating midfield and keeping the Socceroos on the offensive.

The visitors survived an early scare however when only a last-ditch tackle from Trent Sainsbury denied Carlos Lanza.

Australia continued to create the better chances though, with Massimo Luongo forcing a low block from Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober after a fine surging run.

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