Tim Cahill stole the show in Australia's friendly with Ecuador, but it's a game the Socceroos will want to forget. The veteran striker netted a brace as to become his nation's all-time top goalscorer, though they threw away a three-goal first-half lead to lose 4-3 in London.
Cahill opened the scoring within the opening 10 minutes, when he headed Mark Milligan's corner flick-on into the back of the net. It was a sign of things to come, with Australia surprisingly excellent throughout the first half -- and usually with Cahill at the centre of all of their attacking play.
Ecuador were barely in the game at all, as the Socceroos completely bossed the midfield. Any concerns about Postecoglou's inexperienced squad soon went out the window. It was 2-0 within a quarter of an hour, with Australia's anchor man Mile Jedinak stepping up to convert from the penalty spot after Gabriel Achilier had hauled down Cahill in the box.
It was 3-0 just past the half-hour, with Tommy Oar given enough space to pick an inch-perfect low cross for Cahill. The veteran striker threw himself towards the ball, and was rewarded for his brilliant diving header with a goal. Oar linked up with Cahill again a few minutes later, with only a good save from Bone preventing Cahill from heading in for a first-half hat-trick. It was entirely one-way traffic.
Suffice to say, that changed quite dramatically in the second half.
Immediately La Tri looked more dangerous, and pulled a goal back just over 10 minutes after the restart; substitute Fidel Martínez stroking Enner Valencia's square pass into the back of the net.
It was the start of a couple of minutes of madness, with Ecuador gifted a penalty just seconds later. Australia goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak -- who only came on at halftime -- attempted to boot a loose pass clear, though unfortunately kicked Enner Valencia as far as the ball. He was sent off, Segundo Castillo converted from the spot, and we suddenly had a completely different game on our hands.
Antonio Valencia's deflected effort flashed wide of Brad Jones' post, before some dallying from the Liverpool keeper almost resulted in further Australian embarrassment. Eventually the equalising goal came, with Enner Valencia's effort agonisingly trickling over the line after he latched onto a low cross from the right.
The collapse and comeback was complete in stoppage time, with substitute Edison Méndez slotting Antonio Valencia's low cross into Brad Jones' net for 4-3, with what was practically the last kick of the game. It was a kick in the teeth for the Socceroos, with Langerak's red undoing their excellent first-half efforts.
Postecoglou clearly has some work to do before the action gets underway in Brazil, with mental fragility perhaps a concern with such a young team. As for Ecuador, they just need to make sure they arrive in second-half mode, rather than the lethargic alternative they demonstrated in the first half.
Australia: Ryan (Langerak 46'); Davidson, Good (Wilkinson 68'), Špiranović, Franjić; Milligan, Jedinak; Oar (Vidošić 67'), Rogić (Jones 60'), Leckie; Cahill (Bozanić 67')
Goals: Cahill (8', 32'), Jedinak (pen 15')
Red cards: Langerak (58')
Ecuador: Bone (Domínguez 46'); Bagüí (Montero 46'), Achilier (Erazo 46'), Guagua, Ramírez (Paredes 46'); Ayoví, Castillo, Noboa, A. Valencia; E. Valencia (Méndez 90+1'), Caicedo (Martínez 46')
Goals: Martínez (57'), Castillo (pen 61'), E. Valencia (77'), Méndez (90+2')