The Socceroos do not do comfortable wins against Zico-led sides, but Dejan Kalinic believes concerns remain about turning chances into goals for Osieck's men
By DEJAN KALINIC
The Socceroos again left it late to punish a team coached by Zico, but the emotions afterwards could not have been more contrasting.
At the 2006 World Cup, it was joy as Tim Cahill scored twice and John Aloisi once to give Australia a 3-1 win over the Brazilian's Japan in the group stages in Germany.
In Doha on Tuesday [Wednesday morning AEDT], it was relief as the Socceroos took an unconvincing but deserved three points in World Cup qualifying.
In the space of five minutes at Grand Hamad Stadium, Australia went from last in Group B to second and into an automatic qualification spot.
Tim Cahill equalised in characteristic fashion and Archie Thompson headed in the winner to give the Socceroos a 2-1 victory over Iraq.
The result will - for the time being - paper over a few cracks, namely in the attacking third.
Zico's Iraq, fresh from losing 6-0 to Brazil in a friendly in Sweden, were poor and created just one chance, which led to Alaa Abdul Zahra's 72nd-minute opener on the counter-attack.
For the most part, Iraq allowed the Socceroos time and space which went largely unutilised.
Robbie Kruse was the only player in green and gold making use of the chances afforded to him, impressing to be a clear man-of-the-match.
The Fortuna Dusseldorf attacker caused Iraq all sorts of problems down the right before being fouled consistently in the second half.
While it was another forgettable experience for Zico against Australia, it was all smiles for Socceroos left-back Matt McKay and coach Holger Osieck after a crucial victory.
An injury to Kruse led to the introduction of Tommy Oar; another who looked lively.
Oar's pinpoint cross picked out Thompson's run for the winning goal on 84 minutes as he did what few others before him could - provide a cutting edge in the attacking third.
There were chances.
Kruse found Cahill twice - once in each half - only for the chances to go to waste, while the former Brisbane Roar man should have done better than side-foot his shot from six yards wide after a Matt McKay pass.
They were made to pay for their prolificacy as Iraq capitalised on a misplaced Kruse pass to counter, with 'the Iraqi Kaka' providing the clinical finish.
Set-pieces were often wasted by Holger Osieck's men but it was a McKay corner which Cahill headed home before Thompson's winner - his third goal in as many games for Australia.
Brett Holman drifted in and out of the encounter while Alex Brosque was anonymous as his run without an international goal extended to seven games.
The Socceroos played with high tempo and intent in the opening 20 minutes and looked a different side to the one that was stunned 2-1 by Jordan.
They took risks in playing out from defence but, gifted space and time, were unable to create as much as they should have.
More creativity was needed and the introduction of the benched Mark Bresciano would have done no harm.
But the Socceroos got out of jail - in crucial fashion - and their efforts are sure to give Zico more nightmares.