Australia coach Ange Postecoglou hailed the influence of substitute Tommy Oar as the Asian champions began their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win in Kyrgyzstan.
After they had taken the lead in Bishkek in the second minute from a free-kick by captain Mile Jedinak, the Socceroos struggled on a bumpy pitch against an unheralded side ranked 114 places below them.
But the second half introduction of ex-Brisbane Roar attacker Oar helped ease the nerves. His 67th minute goal effectively secured the victory for the visitors before Kyrgyzstan scored a late consolation in added time.
Postecoglou said his entire squad, including impact player Oar, showed character to grind out the result in the second half.
"I'm happy because we have got through that experience and we have won the game," Postecoglou told ffa.com.au.
"We will grow enormously from a game like that where there was so much you could use as an excuse to not try and play our football and not get a result.
"And if you can deal with it ... you would much rather learn those lessons and grow by winning games of football.
Australia were outshot 19 to 11 by Kyrgyzstan and conceded nine corners compared to two. The home side had several golden opportunities to equalise before Oar's second half sucker punch as full-backs Aziz Behich and Ivan Franjic were run ragged down the flanks.
"We had to work hard for it," Postecoglou said. "But at the end of the day we have got the result and we will grow from the experience as well, so that is a bonus.
"We probably just tried to force things a little bit in that first half.
"We're satisfied with the result. We want to play better obviously, we want to grow from this. But considering everything that has been thrown at us ... for us to get a win away from home, I'm pleased."
Australia's next qualifier is against Bangladesh in Perth on Sep. 3. The Bangladeshis played out a 1-1 home draw with Tajikistan in Tuesday's other AFC second round Group B qualifier.