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Honduras, Australia draw 0-0 in 1st leg of World Cup playoff

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12th-Nov-2017       
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AP, San Pedro  :
Honduras held Asian Cup champion Australia to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their intercontinental World Cup playoff, leaving a spot at Russia still very much at stake for both teams in next week's return leg at Sydney's Olympic stadium.
The Australians dominated the match and created the better scoring opportunities but Honduras defended resiliently at home and neither side was able to break the stalemate in a tense opening leg at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano on Friday.
Australian striker Tomi Juric missed two clear-cut chances to score - one in each half - and the Socceroos were left confused after Italian referee Daniele Orsato initially seemed to award them a penalty only to apparently change his mind after consulting with an assistant.
Despite the missed opportunities, Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou said he was thrilled with his team's overall performance and confident of winning the return leg on home soil.
"We're just missing that clinical edge, but overall I couldn't be happier," Postecoglou said in a post-match interview on Australia's Fox Sports. "I thought we were really solid defensively. On a difficult pitch we held our line really well apart from that chance at the end."
Postecoglou said his squad would be able to up the tempo on Wednesday in Sydney.
"We've got some fresh legs, we'll go hard, we'll put the pedal down and go as hard as we can," he said. Honduras "will find it hard to keep up with us."
Honduras, which pipped the United States for fourth spot in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) qualifying to book a spot in the intercontinental playoff, failed to take advantage of its home-ground advantage.
With the pitch breaking up and making it difficult for players to keep their footing, Los Catrachose spent most of the match defending, although they did create one good chance against the run of play late when veteran striker Carlo Costly broke free and forced Australian goalkeeper Matt Ryan to pull off a sharp save.

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