The Socceroos beat Kuwait in their Asia Cup opener 4-1, coming back from a goal down after the away team scored early.
Australian veteran Tim Cahill settled his teams nerves by levelling the score just 12 minutes out from half time.
Newbie Massimo Luongo then gave the Aussies the upper hand with a skillful header to put Australia in front shortly before the break, justifying coach Ange Postecoglou’s selection gambles.
Australia upped the tempo in the second half, forcing Kuwait to try and keep up.
It was a scary moment for Postecoglou when captain Mile Jedinak twisted his left ankle contesting a header in the 41st minute.
Despite wincing in pain, the skipper played on, leaving hope that the injury isn’t overly serious.
“The medicos will have a look at it but hopefully it’s nothing that will keep him out,” Postecoglou said.
And in the 62nd minute he wrapped the game up off a penalty after sending the keeper the wrong way for a third.
James Troisi iced the cake with a fourth in stoppage time to end the match 4-1.
The margin could have been even greater with close calls from Mathew Leckie and substitutes Nathan Burns and Tomi Juric, an effort which Postecoglou said shows the complexity of his side.
“With a bit of luck Nathan Burns, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie could have got on the scoreboard as well,” said Postecoglou, “it shows we have multiple threats.”
Socceroos keeper Mat Ryan was also a star of the match, displaying stealth and resilience against a persistent Kuwait attack. A spectacular flying save to deny Fahed Al Ebrahim of a 71st minute goal was “world class” in the words of former Socceroos keeper Mark Bosnich, who was talking on the Fox Sports post-match coverage.
“This is what separates the men from the boys, when you don’t get a lot of work, you can pull off a save like that.”
Australia’s next match is against Oman on January 13 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
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