The Qantas Socceroos have one hand on the OFC Nations Cup trophy and a Confederations Cup berth, having defeated the Solomon Islands 5-1 in relentless heat in Honiara this afternoon.
Genclerbirligi midfielder Josip Skoko got the ball rolling for Australia in the fifth minute, before doubling his tally twenty minutes later between goals from Ante Milicic and Brett Emerton (pictured).
Solomon Islands captain Batram Suri pulled one back for the home side in the 59th minute, sending 500,000 Solomon Islanders into delirium.
Emerging international Ahmad Elrich restored Australia’s four-goal cushion late in the second half with a goal that sealed the Solomons biggest ever home defeat – just their fourth in Honiara in 16 years.
Ultimately, it was the Socceroos polished and professional first half
display that deflated an evidently enthused Solomon Islands line up, who are faced with a monumental mountain to climb should they wish to claim their first OFC Nations Cup.
Late in the second half, Farina handed Under 23’s Luke Wilkshire and Jon McKain their first senior international caps, as his side toiled under the inexorable conditions that far in excess of 30 degrees in the Solomons capital.
Farina is expected to make several changes to his starting eleven for the return leg in Sydney on Tuesday, with goal scoring options John Aloisi and Harry Kewell in strong contention for selection following treatment on their respective calf and hamstring injuries.