A goal in each half has given Australia a 2-0 win against New Zealand to win the Soccer Ashes Trophy.
In the first half, the All Whites worked hard and matched the Socceroos in terms of possession and opportunities but the Socceroos took control in the second spell.
The first contest for the Soccer Ashes Trophy drew 5,761 spectators to Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium, London, for the trans-Tasman clash.
Main photo: Australia captain Maty Ryan raises the trophy made specially for the 2023 fixture. The original Soccer Ashes Trophy remains in Australia.
Australia took the lead in the 13th minute when New Zealand failed to properly clear a free kick, allowing the Socceroos to knock the ball into the penalty area for a second attempt.
Debutant Alessandro Circati headed down to Mitch Duke who hammered the ball towards the goal, taking a touch from defender Harry Souttar on the way to the net.
Midway through the first half, Jordan Bos struck a goalbound shot that New Zealand ‘keeper Michael Woud did well to turn away.
On the half hour, Chris Wood forced a save from Australia’s Maty Ryan when he headed an Alex Greive cross towards the bottom corner of the goal.
In the 37th minute, Australia briefly thought they had gone 2-0 up when Martin Boyle found the net but was judged to have been offside.
Australia started the second half strongly, dominating possession and forcing New Zealand to defend in numbers.
Goalkeeper Woud made important saves, parrying a shot from Connor Metcalfe and then coming off his line to block a shot from Boyle.
The All Whites were working hard, typified by Wood who was tracking back when needed to hinder the Socceroos as they rushed forward.
New Zealand went close to levelling the score in the 64th minute when Bill Tuiloma curled a free kick from 30 metres, skimming the crossbar.
Australia doubled their lead in the 76th minute when a Boyle corner was met with a strong header by substitute Jackson Irvine, on the pitch for only 10 minutes.
With eight minutes to go, New Zealand created a chance for Matt Garbett who missed the target when under a strong challenge.
The Socceroos should have added a third goal soon after when substitute Brandon Borrello had the goal at his mercy but skewed the ball wide of the post.
Half-time stats (Australia / New Zealand)
Shots: 5 / 6
Shots on target: 2 / 0
Possession: 49% / 51%
Passes: 224 / 227
Pass accuracy: 84% / 84%
Fouls: 7 / 7
Offsides: 3 / 0
Corners: 2 / 3
Full-time stats (Australia / New Zealand)
Shots: 16 / 9
Shots on target: 5 / 0
Possession: 56% / 44%
Passes:471 / 374
Pass accuracy: 85% / 81%
Fouls: 11 / 10
Offsides: 6 / 1
Corners: 5 / 5
Watch the match
Game played on Wednesday October 18, 2023 (NZT)
Venue: Gtech Community Stadium, London
Australia 2 (Harry Souttar 13′, Jackson Irvine 76′)
New Zealand 0
Maty Ryan (captain), Lewis Miller (Ryan Strain 46′), Harry Souttar, Alessandro Circati, Aziz Behich, Keanu Baccus, Massimo Luongo (Jackson Irvine 66′), Connor Metcalfe (Aiden O’Neill 81′), Martin Boyle Sam Silvera 82′), Mitch Duke (Brandon Borrello 66′), Jordan Bos (Craig Goodwin 66′).
Subs: Milos Degenek, Cameron Burgess, Kye Rowles, Awer Mabil, Andrew Redmayne (Gk), Tom Glover (Gk), Patrick Yazbek, Mohamed Toure.
Michael Woud, Michael Boxall (Tyler Bindon 81′), Liberato Cacace, Nando Pijnaker, Bill Tuiloma (Niko Kirwan 73′), Matthew Garbett, Callum McCowatt, Marko Stamenic, Alex Greive (Joe Champness 67′), Eli Just (Ben Waine 73′), Chris Wood (captain) (Max Mata 81′).
Subs not used: Max Crocombe (Gk), Nik Tzanev (Gk), Tommy Smith, Dalton Wilkins.
About the Soccer Ashes
The trophy was created in 1923, containing ashes of cigars smoked by Australian captain Alex Gibb and New Zealand captain George Campbell following the first meeting between the two nations in Australia in June 1923.
The trophy went missing in 1954 but was rediscovered during the COVID pandemic and returned to Football Australia.