Awer Mabil’s fine strike gave Australia a 1-0 win over New Zealand in the final home game for the Socceroos before their World Cup trip in November.
The Cadiz winger struck in style in the 32nd minute at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Jackson Irvine won possession in midfield before feeding Mabil, who cut in from the left flank and fired into the bottom-left corner from 22 yards.
These teams meet again at Eden Park on Sunday, and New Zealand, who missed out on World Cup qualification when they lost in a play-off to Costa Rica, should take heart from Thursday’s display.
The visitors almost snatched a 10th-minute lead when Chris Wood’s flick-on put Andre de Jong in on goal, and he jabbed a foot wide of the left post after getting behind the Australia defence.
Irvine missed the target from a big chance for Graham Arnold’s Australia, and was then penalised for a questionable push when the hosts got the ball in the net in the 28th minute.
Mabil’s goal four minutes later meant that was soon forgotten, with Australia settling for a narrow win in the end after Mathew Leckie shot against the outside of the left post late on, via a faint touch from New Zealand goalkeeper Oliver Sail.