Socceroos thrash Palestine 5-0 | — Australia’s leading news site

Kusini Yengi further strengthened his claims for a permanent place in the Socceroos’ starting line-up with a brace in Australia’s 5-0 rout of Palestine in Perth on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Portsmouth striker scored twice in the first half at HBF Park as the Socceroos wrapped up the second round of AFC 2026 World Cup qualifying with a sixth straight win.

Yengi has now scored four goals in his last three games for Australia as he truly stakes his claim as the Socceroos’ first-choice centre-forward.

He was joined in the big win by Adam Taggart, Martin Boyle and substitute Nestory Irankunda, who scored his first goal for the Socceroos in just his second appearance with a late penalty after a handball by Palestine defender Yaser Hamed.

It was part of a tough night for Hamed, who also scored in the first five minutes to give the Socceroos an early lead.

However, it was a controversial decision by Saudi Arabian referee Khalid Al-Turais, with Palestine furious when he pointed to a penalty after a collision in the box between Hamed and Australian left-back Aziz Behich.

As the VNR system did not work, the decision could not be overturned as the shooter Yengi scored from the spot.

The Australians doubled their lead in the 26th minute when Perth Glory striker Taggart scored for the first time in Socceroos colors since 2019 with a clinical finish from Martin Boyle’s pass.

Taggart’s seventh goal in 20 appearances for the Socceroos was also his first for the national team on home soil.

The Socceroos put the game to bed late in the first half when Yengi scored his second goal of the night, but there were doubts over the goal, with Boyle, who again provided the assist, appearing to be offside in the build-up.

The rout continued in the second half as Boyle was rewarded for his good performance with a goal in the 53rd minute, scoring from close range after some unselfish play from Taggart, who instead of shooting from a good position, put the ball into the net of his grateful team-mate . route.

Bayern Munich-bound Irankunda put the icing on the cake with his penalty in the 87th minute and celebrated with his customary leaps.

“It was a good result for the boys and a fantastic performance at home,” Perth product Taggart said.

“It means a lot to do it here in Perth. I couldn’t be happier.”

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold made eight changes to the starting side in last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh, while Newcastle Jets forward Apostolos Stamatelopoulos made his first appearance off the bench for the Socceroos.

“It’s (about) the depth we’ve been creating,” Arnold said.

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