Socceroos deserved World Cup win, says skipper
STAND-IN Socceroos skipper Mark Milligan says sticking to principles helped Australia get a crucial victory in stifling heat in Abu Dhabi.
With temperatures in the high 30s, the visitors dominated for long spells but had to wait until Tim Cahill's arrival from the substitutes' bench to seal a 1-0 win against the United Arab Emirates.
Cahill scored his 48th goal for his country on 75 minutes, just four minutes after replacing Tomi Juric.
Milligan, who stood in for the injured Mile Jedinak as captain in the centre of midfield, said it was not more than the team deserved.
"We tried to move the ball as quickly as possible. I think we stuck to our principles in what was ultimately difficult conditions," Milligan told Fox Sports.
Cahill's second-half volley following a pinpoint cross from left-back Brad Smith, maintained Australia's winning record in this final Asian qualifying phase for the World Cup in Russia.
The victory followed on from Thursday's 2-0 home success against Iraq and kept the Socceroos on top of their group.
In front of a passionate crowd of 40,893, the Socceroos dominated.
At half-time the shots count was 8-1 in Australia's favour, with the home side kept to a third of possession.
Just before Cahill's arrival, Ali Mabkhout spurned a great opportunity by volleying over from close range.
It would be a costly miss, with Cahill leaving his mark once more in an Australian jersey.
Milligan said the hard work the Socceroos put in helped grind out the result.
"I was always confident we'd get something [out of the game]," he said.
"We were working them hard and we could see they were working hard and it was going to take its toll eventually in this weather.
"We held the ball for long periods of time and it was just a matter of us being patient. We created enough chances but one will do us."
"To be able to captain tonight, and get the win, is an added bonus," Milligan added.
"Over here the boys in the media made it known we hadn't had the best of results over here but we turned that around tonight.
"It's excellent to start this way but it won't mean much if we don't continue with it."
Japan defeated Thailand 2-0 to bounce back from an opening loss to UAE.
The Socceroos next play Saudi Arabia away and Japan at home both in October.