Petratos replaces Luongo in Socceroos’ squad
Sydney: Newcastle Jet Dimitri Petratos has replaced Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo in the Socceroos’ squad for the Asian Qualifiers' matches against Nepal and Chinese Taipei, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said in a statement on Sunday.
Luongo played in England overnight but has been managing a minor knee issue, and following discussions with Australia’s coaching and medical staff it has been decided not to risk him over the coming weeks.
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Australia head coach Graham Arnold said: “Massimo pulled up sore after coming off in last night’s game and due to the short turnaround between now and Thursday’s match, combined with the long-haul flight from Europe, we have decided not to take any risks with him and will bring Dimitri in.”
Australia, who opened their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win over Kuwait, host Nepal in Canberra on Thursday before travelling to face Chinese Taipei five days later.
Both will be challenging ties as Nepal showed great mental strength as they bounced back from a 7-0 defeat against Kuwait to beat Chinese 2-0.
Chinese Taipei will be desperate to get points on the board as the loss to Nepal came after they had lost 2-1 to Jordan.
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