Cahill record no consolation as 10-man Aussies slip to defeat
Australia's Tim Cahill (L) vies with Ecuador's Jorge Guagua (R) during the international friendly football match between Ecuador and Australia at The Den in London on March 5, 2014 - by Ian Kington
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was given plenty to think about after seeing his side concede four goals in the second-half although three of them came when they had been reduced to 10 men as goalkeeper Mitch Langerak was sent off.
Former Everton midfielder Cahill, who now plays his football in the United States, had previously been joint holder with Damian Mori, who finished his Socceroos career on 29.
It was an impressive return to the New Den for the 34-year-old, who had played his club football there for Millwall before joining Everton.
But the game itself turned into a nightmare for his team.
Australia's three-goal half-time lead did not last long as Langerak was sent off either side of two Ecuador replies.
Enner Valencia then levelled for the South Americans, who made the most of their man advantage with a late winner from substitute Edison Mendez.
Ecuador were not lacking in vocal support as they prepared for a World Cup group that includes France, Switzerland and Honduras.
Manchester United's Antonio Valencia started for the South Americans, as did former Manchester City forward Felipe Caicedo.
Australia, who have World Cup holders Spain and beaten finalists Netherlands in their group as well as Chile, were captained by Mile Jedinak, who plays his club football at nearby Crystal Palace.
Ecuador were under early pressure when Jorge Guagua brought down Tom Rogic 25 yards in front of goal but goalkeeper Adrian Bone dived to his right to palm away Jedinak's free-kick.
Cahill then headed narrowly wide from an offside position but made no mistake from his next opportunity, which came as the result of an impressive Rogic run that earned a corner.
The Ecuador defence failed to deal with the flag kick and when Mark Milligan headed the ball into the six-yard box Cahill was perfectly placed to nod past Bone.
It was all Australia and Cahill felt he should have been awarded a penalty when he missed his kick under pressure following a parry from Bone.
He was granted his wish from Australia's next attack however when Gabriel Achillier brought him down and Jedinak made it 2-0 from the spot in the 15th minute.
Cahill claimed Australia's third as well with a diving header as the luckless Achillier failed to cut out Tommy Oar's cross.
Bone managed to keep out another goal-bound header from Cahill but it had been an excellent half from the Socceroos.
Langerak replaced Maty Ryan in goal but was powerless to stop substitute Fidel Martinez pulling one back after Jason Davidson failed to clear a cross.
Within a couple of minutes Australia were down to 10 men when Langerak connected with Enner Valencia rather than the ball while trying to clear.
Brad Jones replaced Rogic to take over but was beaten by Segundo Castillo's spot-kick.
Enner Valencia somehow hit a post rather than an empty net after robbing Jones following a Luke Wilkshire backpass.
But the forward then scuffed home an equaliser before Jones managed to tip a long-ranger from Martinez on to the bar to keep Australia level until Mendez won it in stoppage time.
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