2022 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Two
  • Mathew Leckie (7', 30')
  • Aaron Mooy (38')

Australia down Kuwait to kick off WC qualifying

Australia's senior stars have provided the finishing touches in a 3-0 defeat of Kuwait as the Socceroos' qualifying journey for the 2022 World Cup kicked off in style.

It was billed as a stern test for manager Graham Arnold's youthful Socceroos squad -- with 12 players who had 10 caps of less -- but stand-in captain Mathew Leckie's brace and Aaron Mooy's beautiful strike in the first half easily secured all three points at Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.

The hosts frantically tried to force themselves back into the game after the break but captain Hussain Al-Musawi and Yousef Nasser couldn't find the net as Australia maintained their clean sheet.

"It was a fantastic win; you know a very positive start to the campaign and a lot of younger fresh faces that we've brought in over the last six months really stood up tonight," Arnold told AAP. "We're very proud of them."

Leckie -- who wore the captain's armband after Mark Milligan was ruled out through injury earlier in the week -- thought it was always going to be tough with the temperature reaching 36-degrees-C but he knew the Socceroos could get the result they wanted if they stayed vigilant.

"As I said to the boys before the game, concentration and clarity is going to be the biggest thing and we did it really well tonight," he told AAP.

"I think we were really composed, scored the goals we needed to and saw the game out.

"Big one for me also to represent that country with Milligan out, but the most important was the win and we did it."

It took just seven minutes for the Socceroos to break the deadlock from a corner when midfielder Jackson Irvine's low drive across goal evaded a number of players, including striker Adam Taggart, before it fortunately rebounded into the net off Leckie -- who knew very little about it.

Australia doubled their lead in the 30th minute when Irvine rose to nod Mooy's corner over the defence to his waiting skipper Leckie, who swivelled and struck the ball home from point-blank range.

Kuwait worked hard to deny the Socceroos time on the ball but the deft passes and surging runs of Irvine, Mooy, Leckie, Brandon Borrello and Aziz Behich couldn't be contained.

Taggart helped Australia put the result beyond doubt in the 38th minute by teeing up Mooy who placed a cracking right-foot curler, from outside the box, into the top right corner -- his first goal in the green and gold since March 2016.

Australia sat back in the second half, content to hit the hosts on the counter attack, with Kuwait still desperately searching for a way in.

Al-Musawi had two chances in 53rd and 59th minute, but only the later shot required the outstretched Mathew Ryan to tip it over the crossbar.

Nasser also had an opportunity after Trent Sainsbury's awkward clearance but Ryan parried his shot past the front post.

Right on full-time Awer Mabil found himself one-on-one with the Kuwait keeper but the oncoming Sulaiman Abdulghafoor got a hand to the winger's attempted lob.

The win took Australia to second in qualifying Group B, behind Kuwait on goal difference, before their next match at home against Nepal on October 10.