News South Asia Watch: Bangladesh Starts FIFA World Cup Round 2 Qualifiers With A Heavy Defeat

Australia made a statement in their Group I opener with a comprehensive 7-0 win over Bangladesh in the Preliminary Joint Qualification - Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ on Thursday.

Harry Souttar opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Brandon Borello made it 2-0 on 20 minutes and Mitchell Duke added a third and then a fourth in quick succession before half-time.

Jamie Maclaren then came off the bench to net a second-half hat-trick to put the icing on the cake for the Socceroos as they cruised to victory.
Eighteen years ago to the day that John Aloisi’s penalty famously took his nation to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 32 years, Graham Arnold’s men began on the front foot at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium and needed just over three minutes to open the scoring.
Craig Goodwin’s in-swinging free-kick from the left was met with a towering header from giant defender Souttar that flew into the top left corner of the net, leaving Mitul Marma in the Bangladesh goal with no chance.
Borello doubled the lead a quarter hour later for the hosts as he converted Connor Metcalfe’s low cross into the box from close range after Lewis Miller had set through Metcalfe with a clever ball over the top.
The forward should have had his second on 27 minutes as Goodwin’s wicked cross from the left was met with a powerful header from the Western Sydney Wanderers man, but this time Mitul was equal to it with a fine save.
But Australia did have their third with eight minutes remaining of the half when Duke converted Metcalfe’s ball into the box with an expertly executed flicked header across Mitul into the opposite corner.

Duke then netted his second as Borello’s shot from outside the area cannoned off the post only to fall kindly for the Machida Zelvia forward, who gratefully poked home just three minutes after scoring his first.
Australia continued the second half as they began the first, scoring three minutes after the restart. Jordan Bos surged down the left flank before drilling the ball into the area where half-time substitute Maclaren coolly converted.
Maclaren had his second from close range when fellow substitute Massimo Luongo’s shot was palmed out only as far as the lurking Melbourne City striker.
And there was a treble in store for the A-League’s all-time leading scorer as Miller was found by Aiden O’Neill on the right-hand side and Maclaren was again lurking in the box to tuck away the cross with six minutes remaining.
There was still time for a late penalty and a chance to make it 8-0, but Luongo’s spot-kick was saved by Mitul to give Bangladesh a little joy on a difficult night for the South Asians.
Australia will next face Palestine in Kuwait City, while Bangladesh will host Lebanon in Dhaka with both Matchday Two ties set for November 21.

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