Australia, Honduras draw in first leg of World Cup playoff

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SAN PEDRO SULA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Australia and Honduras will enter the decisive leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff on even terms after a 0-0 draw here on Friday.

The visitors controlled possession and looked the most likely team to score but failed to take their chances at Estadio Olimpico.

FC Luzern striker Tom Juric came closest to breaching the home side’s defence: first when he pulled a shot wide after a clever flick and then when he miscued a header after clever buildup play by Massimo Luongo and Josh Risdon.

Honduras’only shot on target was a powerful 82nd minute drive from Carlo Costly which was parried clear by Matt Ryan.

“I thought it was fantastic, considering everything – the conditions, the home crowd behind them,” Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou told reporters after the match.

“We’re just not getting our rewards and that’s the last thing missing from our game. Our general play’s great, we’re just missing a clinical edge, but overall I couldn’t be happier.”

Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto said he was satisfied with his team’s performance and paid tribute to Australia’s quality.

“I’m content but not happy,” Pinto said. “I’d be happy if we’d won.

“Everybody thought that Australia were going to be easybeats. But no, they have a good team. I saw them play in the Confederations Cup [in June]and in the World Cup qualifiers. They are a tough team.”

The return leg will be played in Sydney on Wednesday, with the winner earning a berth at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

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