Socceroos win fight, fail to land knock-out blow
The Socceroos dominated away to Honduras but the lack of killer instinct leaves the World Cup qualifying tie in the balance.
The high stakes match was Australia's best away performance on Ange Postecoglou's watch, it was just missing the killer goal.
The equation is simple for the Socceroos, they must win in Wednesday's return leg at ANZ Stadium to advance to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Swiss-based striker Tomi Juric had Australia's best chances and an away goal would have been priceless, but the 0-0 draw will give the frustrated visitors hope coming to Australia.
Juric probably should've buried one of his chances - a right-foot shot and header either side of half-time - while if he delayed his burst into the box on the hour he would've had a simple tap in.
But he worked tirelessly and seemed to relish his extra involvement in the game after the Socceroos reverted to a more direct style to adapt to the spongy San Pedro Sula surface that began chopping up within minutes of kick-off.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou would be delighted with his team's controlled, measured performance in San Pedro Sula which took the sting out of the cauldron-like conditions.
Aside from a nervy opening few minutes, the youthful Socceroos showed great composure.
China-based Trent Sainsbury marshaled the defence expertly, while captain Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo and Aaron Mooy bossed the midfield.
Jedinak told Fox Sports that it was a positive outing.
"I'm very proud of the boys. Must take that as a positive. On any other day we win the game - we had chances, a few (bad) bounces, arriving a bit late or the ball wasn't quite there,'' Jedinak said.
"We take a lot of heart from it. It was always going to be a difficult game in difficult conditions.
"We must focus on recovery. We recover and we go again on Wednesday and that's where it'll be won for us.''
The contrasting body language at the final whistle was telling, with the frustrated Hondurans quite demonstrative.
The Australian players were relaxed, but far from jubilant, knowing there is still a big job ahead.
It's half-time of this all-or-nothing World Cup playoff and the Soccerooos are in pole position.