Late goal gives Australia lucky win

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MANAMA - Mark Bresciano's last-gasp goal gave Australia a 1-0 victory in Bahrain on Wednesday to maintain their perfect start to the final round of World Cup Asian qualifiers. The midfielder pounced on a rare defensive mistake by Bahrain inside the penalty box to lift the ball into the roof of the net three minutes into injury time. The win was Australia's third in as many matches and left them in a strong position to reach the 2010 finals in South Africa. They lead the five-team Group A table on nine points, with the top two qualifying. "I'm very happy ... we didn't deserve the three points," Australia coach Pim Verbeek told reporters. "It was a tough game, we were never in control. "One point would have been good for us. I'll say we're lucky to win this game. We would have been lucky to get one point." It was a cruel result for Bahrain, who have one point from three games. They dominated from the outset and were unlucky not to go ahead after creating a number of clear-cut chances. Nigerian-born striker Jaycee John troubled the visiting defence all night without finding a way past the Socceroos, who were missing several key players including Brett Emerton, Scott McDonald, Vince Grella, Craig Moore and Matthew Spiranovic. GOLDEN CHANCE John missed a golden chance to score in the second half when he failed to connect with a sweetly-timed cross from Salman Isa. Australia did not manage a shot on target in the first hour. "I don't know what happened, I just can't explain it," said Bahrain coach Milan Macala. "We played against the best team in Asia, I think we created many, many chances ... but it wasn't possible for us to score. "Maybe we can qualify but in this match we needed three points."