Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Melbourne: Goal scorer James Troisi believes Australia “made a big statement” in Friday’s opening AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 win over Kuwait, with Ange Postecoglou’s side eventually easing to a 4-1 victory despite conceding an early goal.
Troisi’s stoppage-time goal, his second international strike, ultimately sealed an encouraging night for the tournament hosts at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium after Tim Cahill, Massimo Luongo and captain Mile Jedinak had struck to cancel out Kuwait’s shock eighth minute opener from Hussain Fadhel.
But with 2011 finalists Australia travelling to Sydney on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s Group A meeting with Oman, there is little time for the Socceroos to dwell on their opening comeback win of the continental campaign.
“I think we made a big statement. Obviously we’re a little disappointed with the goal we conceded, but we scored four goals, so it’s a great start. It takes a little bit of pressure off us now, so we can continue to look forward and progress,” said former Melbourne Victory midfielder Troisi.
“There were always going to be nerves, but we went in 2-1 at half-time and obviously came out really comfortable and played a lot of good football in the second half.
“We found little gaps and little moments on the field, and they were going to get tired in the end.”
Troisi’s 92nd minute emphatic close-range finish represented a second international goal for the Belgium-based midfielder, who made his international debut in 2008 before netting his first goal for the Socceroos against New Zealand three years later.
“I was pretty close to (Mathew) Leckie, the ball fell, I pounced on it, had a swing and put the ball in the back of the net,” added the Zulte Waregem midfielder, who came off the bench against Chile and Spain at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“It’s great to be scoring at this stadium again, a really nice feeling. But most importantly it’s great we got off to a good start.”
Having played the entire match against Kuwait, Troisi will enjoy a day off on Saturday, with only those not involved against Kuwait set to train ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Oman at Stadium Australia.
“We rate our chances really highly in this whole tournament,” said 26-year-old Troisi.
“At the moment it’s all about recovery, so we’ll rest up and then the next couple of days we’ll work on them (Oman).”
Australia coach Postecoglou, meanwhile, is hopeful captain Jedinak will feature against Oman after being able to also finish the match despite the Crystal Palace midfielder twisting his ankle just before half-time on Friday.
“Mile twisted his ankle a little bit; he was able to see out the game. We will have the medicos have a look at it and hopefully it’s nothing that will keep him out,” said Postecoglou.
“The pleasing thing is that we have a few guys on the bench who have got good experience and are good footballers who will be ready to go on Tuesday night, so if anyone can’t pick up we have got some options.”