Tim Cahill returned to Australian colours and the score sheet as the

Socceroos notched up a 2-1 friendly victory over Wales at Cardiff City

Stadium on Wednesday night.

In his first match for Australia

since January’s Asian Cup final, Cahill found the back of the net in the

44th minute before substitute Robbie Kruse doubled the lead in the 61st


Wales substitute Darcy Blake pulled one back in the 82nd minute by heading home a corner in front of a sparse crowd.


has now scored 24 times in 53 internationals and the Everton star

looked refreshed following his first genuine off-season in years.

The Socceroos open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Thailand in Brisbane on September 2.


entered the match ranked 112th to Australia’s 23rd, the home side

struggling to regularly field its strongest team with star player Gareth

Bale playing in red for the first time in 10 months.


McDonald edged out Kruse for the starting position up front next to

Cahill and Neil Kilkenny earned the nod in the centre of midfield ahead

of Mile Jedinak.

Australia had the better of the chances throughout the match and the Wales’ back four looked wobbly at times.

In the 20th minute, Australian midfielder Carl Valeri scuffed a good look at goal from the edge of the area.

Much of the lead-up talk had surrounded how defender Luke Wilkshire would handle Bale.

However it was the Tottenham star that was nearly caught out as Wilkshire came agonisingly close to scoring in the 35th minute.

The defender was given enough time and space to deliver a stinging shot from outside the area that crashed off the near post.


match stirred to life just before the break with Gareth Bale tumbling

in the penalty area in the 43rd minute under pressure from Brett


As the home fans voiced their frustration, the Socceroos grabbed the lead in the following minute.


delivered a teasing cross into the box with Cahill volleying the low

ball straight past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from close range.

Australia made two changes at half time with Robbie Kruse coming on for Wilkshire and Rhys Williams on for Emerton.


had a good look at goal only two minutes after his introduction but

Hennessey blocked his shot with Valeri’s follow-up shot rebounding off

the post.

Wales finally had a look at goal in the 50th minute but substitute Jack Collison’s left foot shot went over the bar.


Australians doubled their lead when Hennessey was unable to deal with

Scott McDonald’s low cross and Kruse pounced from five metres out.


Troisi came on for Cahill in the 71st minute and Australia’s lead

looked safe until Blake scored with eight minutes left to play.