Socceroos goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak says it was a case of two points lost for Australia in their 1-1 draw away to Iraq in Tehran in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Thursday night.
Australia came away with their fourth consecutive draw in qualifying, surrendering a half-time lead thanks to Mathew Leckie when Iraq substitute Ahmed Yasin equalised on 76 minutes.
The result left Australia with 10 points from six games, three points behind group leaders Saudi Arabia, while Japan (10 points) were due to play away to UAE (nine points) later on Friday morning.
Irrespective of the UAE-Japan result, Australia will sit third in the group after this round of fixtures.
The Socceroos are next in action on Tuesday against UAE in Sydney, while they also play Saudi Arabia and Thailand at home in their remaining four fixtures which will be key.
“It’s very important that we have next a few home games,” Langerak told Fox Sports.
“It’s always difficult way from home. I think we need to give credit to playing away from home in this continent.
“It’s certainly not easy, whether it’s hot or playing on pitches like today, it didn’t make things easy.”
The Socceroos have claimed one win and three draws on the road so far in Group B qualifying.
Despite that record, Langerak said it was a case of two points lost for Australia away to Iraq.
“It’s obviously two points lost for us,” he said. “We came here for the three points, there’s no question.
“That doesn’t mean it was going to be easy. It certainly wasn’t today.
“We have to pull ourselves together and focus on the next game.”
Langerak was given his first Socceroos start since October 2014, preferred by boss Ange Postecoglou ahead of regular number one Mat Ryan.
The 28-year-old, who has been in good form with German club VfB Stuttgart, admitted he didn’t expect to start.
“It was obviously unexpected, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t prepared to play,” he said.
“I didn’t come into camp expecting to play, but I was ready and once I got called upon I was hoping to have a good performance today.”
The Stuttgart man made two key saves, including a good low stop on the hour mark from Ahmad Ibrahim’s header.
He was one of a handful of shining lights for the Socceroos in difficult conditions, with the poor pitch ensuring a direct style of play.
“It was a difficult game for us today,” Langerak said.
“In these conditions, it didn’t make things easy.
“That’s not an excuse for us.
“We have to have a look at what we can do better and how we can dominate opposition a lot better than today.”