Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer saved an 89th-minute penalty to help Australia earn a 0-0 draw against China in their Asian World Cup qualifier in Kunming on Wednesday.
The veteran Middlesbrough keeper saved Shao Jiayi’s spot kick after he brought down Chinese striker Qu Bo in the penalty area.
“To lose that match to a late penalty would have been a disaster for us because I thought we deserved to get something out of the game,” Schwarzer told Australian television.
“When you look at the preparation we’ve had it’s an amazing result.”
Australia went into the match without a number of their key Europe-based players who pulled out with injuries.
Already short of options up front, Australia’s injury woes were compounded when striker Archie Thompson was forced off after just eight minutes.
Despite appearing content to play for a draw, Australia created several chances, with Mark Bresciano always a threat from midfield.
Australia coach Pim Verbeek said he was pleased with the draw.
“We only had two days’ preparation and the Chinese team had two and a half months so I think we played very well … I’m very proud of the boys,” the Dutchman said.
China, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq in Dubai last month, need to beat Qatar to get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.