Image copyright Getty Images Image caption South Africa coach Justin Botha (centre) congratulates Matty Alcott after the keeper’s goal earned victory against Rwanda
The Socceroos got that first win of their 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign by grinding out a slender win over South Africa.
In a match played in Cape Town, a superb Matty Alcott goal ultimately proved decisive for the home side as they overcame stubborn resistance from a weary-looking – and exhausted – Rwandan outfit.
After a poor first half, a period in which Australia dominated possession but failed to make the most of their chances, coach Graham Arnold made several tactical changes and got his early results on Saturday.
The Elephants were always on the back foot, their options always severely limited due to the man-power provided by an organised group of dangerous Rwandan defenders.
An injury-time, stoppage-time own goal by Gabriel Ngatunzi gave Australia a share of the spoils, while South Africa’s performance against their African Group B opponents was disappointing.
A three-goal cushion is not easy to defend, especially in Cape Town, with KwaZulu-Natal having not won a home game for seven years.
Two goals and an Australian offside decision in quick succession, after the break, were too much for the previously patched-up hosts and gave the gap to progress through to a 10th straight World Cup final next year a decisive factor.