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2022 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Two
  • Mathew Leckie (1')
  • Jackson Irvine (24')
  • Ajdin Hrustic (66')

Australia beat Kuwait in World Cup qualifying match on Mathew Leckie, Jackson Irvine goals

Mathew Leckie and Jackson Irvine sent Australia on their way to a 3-0 win over Kuwait on Thursday as Graham Arnold's side took a huge stride towards booking their place in the third phase of Asia's qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup.

Playing in their first game in more than 18 months due to the pandemic, Leckie showed the Socceroos had lost none of their sharpness by giving the Australians the lead with a header less than two minutes into the game.

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Irvine doubled his side's advantage in the 23rd minute when he slotted home on the rebound after Martin Boyle had seen his penalty saved by Sulaiman Abdulghafoor.

Ajdin Hrustic added the third midway through the second half with a curling free kick to claim his first goal for the Socceroos in style.

With Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic resting at home, Hrustic slotted into the creative midfield role with aplomb.

Arnold said the 24-year-old was a "completely different player" after moving to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt from Dutch team Groningen.

"I do believe that he's going to be one of the stars of the future, of the new generation," said Arnold.

"He's got a great work ethic, a great professional kid, great kid overall, and he's a joy to work with."

The win was Australia's fifth in a row in Group B as they moved five points clear of Kuwait and Jordan, who did not play on Thursday.

Only the eight group winners in the second round of preliminaries are guaranteed to advance to the next phase alongside the four runners-up with the best records.