In the words of Tara Rushton, the Socceroos’ ‘bouncebackability’ was well and truly proven last night with a 3-0 win over Palestine in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
Jamie Maclaren personally proved a lot of doubters wrong when he scored his first in the Green and Gold and opened the scoring. Awer Mabil also got on the scoresheet in impressive fashion before substitute, Apostolos Giannou put the final nail in the coffin.
The performance showcased Arnie Ball in all its glory, as Australia were desperate to get things back on track following the loss to Jordan.
It was great to see Chris Ikonomidis in the starting XI, as he was involved in many of Australia’s best plays, more specifically, setting up both Mabil and Giannou to score.
The whole team played well, with Jackson Irvine, Tom Rogic and captain, Mark Milligan dominating the midfield.
Rogic’s superhuman cross was met by Maclaren who headed in brilliantly in the 18th minute, not long after he missed his first opportunity in front of goal, in which he recovered superbly with a neat finish. You could see how much this goal meant to him.
The lead was doubled when Ikonomidis brushed off one defender to then deliver a delightful cross to Mabil at the back post, who volleyed past the ‘keeper.
Giannou made it 3-0 at the death, courtesy of Ikonomidis’ cross from a corner to the back post, where Giannou powerfully finished.
All in all, positive signs for the Socceroos as we go on to fight and bring home the Asian Cup once again. If we can continue this type of football, I have all faith in Graham Arnold (although I did have it from the start).
By Cassandra Treppiedi