Taggart, Irvine and Souttar score doubles as Australia beat Chinese Taipei 7-1
Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and Harry Souttar were at the double, while Jamie Maclaren was on the scoresheet again as the Caltex Socceroos continued their strong start to FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying with a 7-1 win over Chinese Taipei in Kaohsiung on Tuesday night (AEDT).
Taggart headed in Rhyan Grant's cross and bundled Brad Smith's cutback over the line to give Graham Arnold's side a flying start before Chinese Taipei pulled a goal back through Chen Yi-Wei's bullet header.
Irvine restored Australia's two-goal buffer in the space of two first half minutes - the Hull City midfielder's first international double, before Souttar and Maclaren added late strikes to crown a dominant Caltex Socceroos performance.
Graham Arnold wielded six changes from the eleven who started Australia's 5-0 win over Nepal in Canberra last Thursday.
Milos Degenek replaced Bailey Wright to partner Souttar in defence, who retained his position next to fullback Grant. On the other side of the Caltex Socceroos back four, Smith was drafted in for Aziz Behich.
Aaron Mooy and Irvine both kept their spots, with James Jeggo coming in for captain Mark Milligan at the base of midfield.
Meanwhile, Taggart replaced Maclaren up top, Australia's hat-trick hero against Nepal. Taggart was flanked by Brandon Borrello and Awer Mabil, who came in for Craig Goodwin and Mathew Leckie respectively.
And, in Milligan's stead, goalkeeper Mathew Ryan wore the armband - the Brighton and Hove Albion Premier League star becoming Australia's 62nd captain.
Chinese Taipei number one Pan Wen-chieh was called into action right from the off, firstly to parry Degenek's header from Mooy's corner.
But he was beaten soon after when Taggart nodded in Grant's superb cross to hand Arnold's men a 12th minute lead.
Having scored his first goal in green and gold in six years to break the deadlock, Taggart swiftly made it two goals in a matter of minutes by tucking away Smith's cross from close range following a lovely move from the Caltex Socceroos down the left hand side.
The hosts forged an instant reply via a bullet header from Chen Yi-Wei, who emphatically powered home a cross from Chen Ting-yang.
However, Irvine quickly restored Australia's two-goal buffer before the half time interval, first beating Wen-chieh after Mooy spotted Grant darting into the box with a fantastic searching pass, and securing his first international brace two minutes later by powering into the box to meet Mabil's delivery.
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The Caltex Socceroos resumed their dominance after the break, with Taggart seeing his shot blocked and Mabil firing wide, before the FC Midtjylland star forced a good save from Wen-chieh from range.
Mustafa Amini replaced Mooy and Ajdin Hrustic came on for Borrello as Chinese Taipei held firm - but their resistance was broken when Souttar headed home Hrustic's free-kick with fifteen minutes remaining.
Maclaren replaced Taggart up front and needed five minutes to find the net, applying a confident finish on the angle after Hrustic had fed the Melbourne City's striker into the box.
And Hrustic claimed a hat-trick of assists when Souttar powered in another header - his third of the week - to seal the Caltex Socceroos' seventh and final of the evening.