Sun, Jun 03, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Socceroo keeper drops clanger to hand Uruguay win

AFP , SYDNEY

Understudy goalkeeper Brad Jones dropped a clanger to allow Uruguay to come from behind and beat Australia 2-1 in a soccer friendly yesterday.

The Socceroos, gearing up for next month's Asian Cup without seven of their European stars, took a seventh-minute lead.

But the Uruguayans, tuning up for the Copa America, hit back with goals from Diego Forlan and Alvaro Recoba for their first win in Australia in five matches.

Australia looked set for a deserved draw before Jones, getting a rare appearance in place of Middlesbrough team-mate Mark Schwarzer, missed substitute Guillermo Giacomazzi's cross for Recoba to head home into an empty net 13 minutes from time.

The Australians, playing without Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella, Tim Cahill, John Aloisi and Schwarzer, struck early when Basel's Mile Sterjovski scored after a goalmouth scramble.

A cross by Blackburn Rovers' Brett Emerton from the right had defenders Diego Lugano and Carlos Diogo in all sorts of bother and goalkeeper Fabian Carini was unable to clear.

Sterjovski rammed the ball into the net at his third attempt.

Inter Milan's Recoba took more control of the midfield in his roaming role and his long-range free kick was headed just wide by skipper Lugano, before Recoba found an unmarked Diego Forlan five minutes before half-time.

Forlan, who missed the 2005 World Cup playoff, which propelled Australia into their first World Cup finals in 32 years, only arrived Down Under on Thursday and had just one full day's training in preparation for the match.

Recoba rolled the ball across the Australian goal and defender Patrick Kisnorbo failed to clear, allowing Forlan to slot home from close range.

Another teasing Recoba free kick caused problems in the home defense minutes later and Dario Rodriguez's header was palmed clear by goalkeeper Jones diving to his right.

But Jones brought groans from the 61,000 crowd when he flapped at Giacomazzi's cross, gifting Recoba an easy headed goal to give Uruguay victory.

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