The Socceroos ran out victors in their last match on home soil before the Asian Cup, beating Paraguay 1-0 in a hard fought match on a slippery Sydney Football Stadium pitch on Saturday night.

David Carney’s thunderous 53rd minute strike was enough to separate the sides in a match that was largely uninspiring and devoid of many clear cut chances.

A slightly disappointing crowd of just over 25,000 turned up to see the Socceroos stretch their unbeaten home record to eight games.

The match started in a slow and pragmatic fashion with both sides looking out of sync and struggling to find fluency with their passes.

It took 13 minutes for the first real shot of the match, Mark Schwarzer saving comfortably after Paraguay’s Nelson Valdez did well to get his snap shot on target.

The Socceroos brought the game to life in the 20th minute, upping the tempo and creating a flurry of half chances in front of goal.

Paraguay tested their luck by continually giving away free kicks to a Socceroos side looking dangerous from set pieces.

Diego Barreto kept his side level on the scoreboard with some important saves, first from a strong Tim Cahill header, following up soon after with a block on a ferocious Jason Culina volley.

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The Socceroos dominated the last 25 minutes of the half, though it was the lack of quality in the final third that failed to convert pressure into goals.

The sides went in 0-0 at the break, though the Socceroos may feel aggrieved after Mile Jedinak had a clear penalty waved away in first half stoppage time when he was pulled down in the box by a Paraguayan defender.

The second half was much faster and more open than the first but still failed to produce the quality and style of play that was expected from a match that should have been a blockbuster.

The first and only quality strike of the match proved to be the difference between the sides after the Socceroos applied continual pressure, albeit a little scrappy, on Paraguay.

David Carney produced a clinical left foot finish in the 53rd minute, volleying home an innocuous cross that managed to evade everybody except the goal scorer.

The Socceroos were deserved winners with Paraguay rarely threatening an untested defence, leaving Schwarzer largely as a spectator for the majority of the match.

In charge for the first time on home soil, Holger Osieck delivered, as promised, a more attacking brand of football.

It appeared to be a breath of fresh air for supporters after many were left disgruntled by the highly criticised style employed on the Socceroos by former coach, Pim Verbeek.

Osieck would be pleased by his troops’ encouraging performance in a physical match that threatened to boil over on a number of occasions, though I’m sure he would be first to concede that there is still a long way to go.

Though the signs are encouraging, the match proved that there are still some questions for Osieck to answer, and most certainly some places in the starting XI up for grabs.

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