Romania late show sees off Socceroos

A stunning late free-kick from Romanian midfielder Gabriel Torge has seen Romania come from behind to down the Qantas Socceroos 3-2 in Malaga, Spain.

Australia's preparations for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Oman took a blow following a 3-2 friendly loss to Romania in Malaga on Wednesday.

The Socceroos led 2-1 with 10 minutes to go but were unable to hold on as Bogdan Stancu and then Gabriel Torje found the net to put Romania in front.

Cristian Tanase opened the scoring for Romania in the 35th minute, before Luke Wilkshire levelled proceedings with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Australia took the lead through an unlikely source in Robert Cornthwaite in the second half but failed to stop the Romanian comeback at an all but empty Estadio Ciudad de Malaga.

The Socceroos, second in Group B of AFC World Cup qualifying, will now turn their full attention to a vital clash with Oman in Sydney on March 26.

Australia fielded an experienced side complemented by youth with Mark Schwarzer in goal, and Wilkshire and Michael Zullo on either side of Cornthwaite and skipper Lucas Neill in central defence.

Robbie Kruse, James Holland, Mark Bresciano and Matt McKay lined up in midfield, with Brett Holman and Alex Brosque operating up front.

The Socceroos looked shaky in defence early on as Romania, third in Group D of UEFA World Cup qualifying, controlled the tempo of the contest.

Torje had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 16th minute, but his volley from inside the area sailed wide of the target.

Australia were forced to wait until the 23rd minute for their first chance on goal as Kruse made an intelligent run down the right flank before crossing to McKay, who mistimed his attempt.

Romania continued to contain the Socceroos and took a deserved lead after capitalising on a Wilkshire turnover on the edge of the area.

Torje's shot was blocked by Schwarzer, though his effort merely rebounded into the path of Steaua Bucharest midfielder Tanase for a straightforward finish.

The advantage lasted only 10 minutes as Romania captain Razvan Rat brought down Brosque, who was clearly fouled in the area after receiving a pinpoint ball from Holland.

Wilkshire made no mistake from the spot with a powerful strike that beat Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and hit the roof of the net.

Adam Federici came on for Schwarzer to start the second half, while Ryan McGowan was handed his third cap in place of Wilkshire.

Cornthwaite handed Australia the lead in the 54th minute following a goalmouth scramble that resulted in his third goal in six appearances.

The Chunnam Dragons defender, who scored in his return to the side against South Korea in November and the 8-0 routing of Taiwan the following month, somehow found the net after regathering his deflected first shot.

Rhys Williams was brought on for Neill, who is suspended for the Oman fixture, and Nikita Rukavytsya replaced McKay as coach Holger Osieck continued to experiment and tinker with his side.

Stancu had a chance to restore parity but drifted his shot across the face of goal before Federici made a superb save to deny a header from the Orduspor forward minutes later.

Holman forced Pantilimon into a fine stop at the other end, but parity was restored when Williams was beaten at the near post and allowed Stancu to fire past Federici in the 80th minute.

Williams was amongst the action again four minutes later when he conceded a foul, allowing Torje to curl in the winner from the edge of the area.

Australia 2 (Luke Wilkshire 45pen, Robert Cornthwaite 54) Romania 3 (Cristian Tanase 35, Bogdan Stancu 80, Gabriel Torje 84)