Duke gives Australia crucial win over Tunisia

Duke gives Australia crucial win over Tunisia

Mitchell Duke of Australia celebrates 1-0 with teammates during the World Cup match between Tunisia v Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Al Wakrah Qatar.


Australia forward Mitchell Duke dedicated his match-winning goal against Tunisia to his son and said it is "a moment I will hold very dear for the rest of my life".

Duke took advantage of a positive start by Australia when he superbly flicked Craig Goodwin's cross into the far corner to put them 1-0 up after 23 minutes.

That sparked an outburst of jubilant celebration from the small contingent of Australia fans behind the goal, which momentarily silenced the hostile and unwavering support for Tunisia.

Knowing defeat would mean an early exit from the World Cup, Australia held on to the narrow lead that keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the last 16.

"I spoke to my son when I got selected for the World Cup," said Duke.

"You have to have that belief you can score [and] I told my son I would share that moment with him. [The celebration] was a little 'J' for the first letter of his name.

"I haven't seen it yet but apparently he did it back to me in the stadium. It is a moment I will hold very dear for the rest of my life."

Hissed and jeered throughout by striking clusters of fans draped in red at the Al Janoub Stadium, Australia held their nerve to claim their first victory at a World Cup since 2010.

They survived a desperate onslaught from Tunisia in the second half, with Youssef Msakni forcing goalkeeper Mathew Ryan into a save at his near post, though that came moments after Mathew Leckie had come inches away from connecting with Goodwin's cross at the other end.

Stoke City defender Harry Souttar put in a superb performance, making several key blocks and tackles as Australia dug in.

Australia, who suffered a humbling defeat by France in their opening match, will take on tough opponents Denmark next - but with qualification in their own hands.

"At the end of the day, it's just one game. Nothing will change for us," said Australia boss Graham Arnold.

"I told the players I am very proud but we have achieved nothing at this moment. We are here and want to go as far as we can go.

"I don't want emotion from the players - staying up all night looking at social media and all that stuff - I want them to recover and refocus."

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