09.01.2015 12:03 h

Aussies thrash Kuwait 4-1 in Asian Cup opener

Hosts Australia showed impressive firepower to beat Kuwait 4-1 in their Asian Cup opener on Friday after talisman Tim Cahill kick-started them following an early scare.

Massimo Luongo, Mile Jedinak and James Troisi were also on target for the Socceroos, who could have scored six or seven and were serenaded with a chorus of "Oles" by a sell-out crowd of 30,000 in Melbourne.

Kuwait had stunned Australia with a goal from Hussain Fadhel after just eight minutes, the big defender stooping to head in a corner and silence the home fans.

But Cahill relieved the tension on a wet and chilly evening by slamming home the equaliser in the 33rd minute after smart work down the right from Luongo.

Luongo put Australia in front moments before half-time with a superb header to give the home side a huge boost going into the break.

Skipper Jedinak stroked home a penalty in the 62nd minute, giving the Socceroos a two-goal cushion as they continued to press, playing with a verve that was sorely missing as they managed just a single win in 11 matches last year.

Troisi poked home a fourth in stoppage time to cap a dominating performance by Ange Postecoglou's side.

Cahill almost grabbed a second, forcing a superb save from Hameed Youssef on the hour-mark, before Mathew Leckie smashed a left-foot shot against the underside of the bar as the floodgates threatened to open.

Substitute Nathan Burns also rattled the crossbar with a diving header as the Socceroos began to turn on the style against Kuwait, who had beaten them in five of their previous 10 meetings.

Australia, runners-up to Japan four years ago, are also drawn alongside Oman and 2002 World Cup semifinalists South Korea in Group A as they bid to win their first Asian Cup with a new-look side, after golden generation failed to win a major title.