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Mark Schwarzer kept another clean sheet to take Austalia to the brink of World Cup qualification in their 2-0 win over Uzbekistan in Sydney this morning.

The Fulham goalkeeper, who has been in such great form this season, has kept five straight clean sheets in World Cup qualifying and built the foundations for the Socceroos’ fourth win in their last five qualifiers. If Bahrain and Qatar draw their game later today, the Australians will be confirmed as the first qualifiers for South Africa from the Asian section.

The home side had to wait a long time for their crucial goals. Josh Kennedy broke the deadlock making an almost immediate impression after replacing the Celtic striker Scott McDonald after an hour. Mark Bresciano did well to get down the right flank and get his cross in and Kennedy, now plying his trade with the German outfit Karlsruhe, scored with a well-directed header.

Just a few minutes and the game was over as a contest. Hull City’s Richard Garcia, making his first start for his country in place of Tim Cahill, was upended in the penalty area and the former Liverpool winger Harry Kewell easily converted the spot-kick. The victory leaves Australia two points clear of Japan at the top of the group, on thirteen points.