Mark Viduka celebrated his first match as Australia captain in style, scoring twice in a 7-0 win over the Solomon Islands in the World Cup qualifier first-leg at Aussie Stadium.
Viduka struck in the 35th and 42nd minutes to give the star-studded Socceroos a strong grip on the Oceania title and the right to play the fifth-best South American side for a place at next year’s World Cup finals in Germany.
It was the Middlesbrough man’s first goal, a magnificent overhead kick which rocketed into the back of the net from eight yards, which was the highlight of a qualifier in which the Islanders were totally outclassed.
Their cause was not helped by being reduced to 10 men early in the second half when young defender Nelson Sale was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling attacking midfielder Jason Culina.
The FC Twente star, who was close to signing with new Socceroos’ coach Guus Hiddink’s PSV Eindhoven before the transfer window closed on Friday, opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a right-foot volley.
Leading 3-0 at half-time, Australia turned up the pressure in the second-half and added further goals through Everton’s Tim Cahill (56), Basel’s Scott Chipperfield (63), Melbourne Victory’s Archie Thompson (64) and Blackburn’s Brett Emerton (88).
Viduka also had a goal disallowed for offside and Cahill headed against the cross-bar in the second half.