Australia kept its 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying campaign alive with a dramatic 4-3 sudden death penalty shootout win over Qatar on Thursday.
With the match locked at 3-all after three 12-minute regular periods and three minutes of extra time, the Beach Socceroos claimed the penalty shootout win to go top of Group A and on the brink of a semi-final berth with one match remaining.
In a qualifying tournament in which eight goals on average have been scored per match, it was a cagey opening as both side struggled to find their rhythm.
The beach Socceroos suffered an early set back when Ante Juric left the pitch with what appeared to be a hamstring injury he sustained taking a shot.
As the period entered its final minute, Qatar snatched the lead through Jafal Rashid.
The introduction of Ex-Socceroos striker David Zdrilic gave the Beach Socceroos more of a focal point in attack and Australia equalised five minutes into the second period when he set up Panny Nikas.
The dangerous Rashid hit back almost immediately for Qatar, which took a 2-1 lead, before Zdrilic again combined with Nikas to level the scores.
Rashid fired Qatar into the lead for a third time, with three minutes left in the match, but his effort was cancelled out by Peter Crevani, who pounced on the ball after Zdrilic's shot was parried by Qatar replacement goal-keeper Amro Fawzi.
After a dour extra time period during which Zdrilic's early strike was the only shot that threatened to trouble the scores, Australia's players maintained their composure during a tense penalty shootout, with Qatar's fourth shot spraying wide to give the Beach Socceroos the win.
John Boultbee is set to relinquish his role as Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) Head of National Teams to take up a role as honorary head of World Rowing (FISA).