Mitch Duke scored twice as Australia closed in on a place in the third stage of World Cup qualifying with a 5-1 hammering of Chinese Taipei on Monday.
The Socceroos made it six wins out of six and within one victory of a guaranteed spot in the third phase of Asian qualifying at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait, outclassing the team propping up Group B without a point to their name.
Harry Souttar and Jamie Maclaren each scored their fifth goals of the qualifying campaign and Trent Sainsbury added a third in the first half, with Duke claiming a second-half double either side of Gao Wei-Jie’s surprise goal for Chinese Taipei.
Head coach Graham Arnold called on Australia to be more clinical after a 3-0 win over Kuwait and gave a completely different side the opportunity to capitalise on Chinese Taipei’s defensive frailties.
— #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 7, 2021
Souttar opened the scoring by heading home Riley McGree’s corner 11 minutes in and A-League Golden Boot winner Maclaren got in on the act from the penalty spot after he was upended by Chen Wei-chuan.
Sainsbury got on the end of another McGree corner to head in a third Australia goal late in a first half which also saw Brandon Borrello rattle the post from close range.
Borrello provided the cross for Duke to nod home 20 seconds into the second half before Gao scored only Chinese Taipei’s third goal from seven group games with a clinical finish.
Duke had the final say, tucking into an empty net after being set up by Nikita Rukavytsya six minutes from time.