The Australian national team delivered a simple omen en route to their first game in 567 days: “We’re back.”
It only took them 55 seconds to prove it in the match.
After the pandemic forced the Asian World Cup qualifying campaign to a 19-month hiatus, it took Matthew Leakey less than a minute to score the first goal with a header.
And it ended with Australia winning 3-0 over Kuwait.
During a hot night in the Kuwaiti capital, Jackson Irvine cemented the Australian team’s lead midway through the first half. He took advantage of the rebounding opportunity after Martin Boyle missed a penalty.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Eden Hrucic scored the third goal from a free kick in the 66th minute for Australia to achieve its fifth victory in the same number of matches.
The Australian team advanced by five points from Kuwait and Jordan in Group B, with three matches remaining. They can secure their passage to the third round of a draw next week if they beat Taiwan and Nepal.
Only the top of each of the eight groups is guaranteed a place in the next round, which kicks off in September. The best four seconds are also ahead.
In another match in the second round of the confrontation, the United Arab Emirates crushed Malaysia 4-0 in Group F and Ali Mabkhout scored two goals to become the second active player with the most goals for his team, ahead of Argentine Lionel Messi.
The striker scored 73 goals for his country, more than two goals scored by Messi so far with Argentina, and less than 103 goals for Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal.
Ali Dael of Iran is the most prominent national scorer in history with 109 goals.
Thailand and Indonesia tied 2-2. Emirates advanced to second place in the group, two points behind leaders Vietnam, with three dates remaining.
Iran, who had lost their previous two matches in Group C, beat Hong Kong 3-1 to preserve their chances of appearing for a third consecutive World Cup finals.
The Iranian team is third with nine points, two points behind Iraq. Bahrain leads by one point after beating Cambodia 8-0.