24/04/2024

The Socceroos lining up for the national anthem in Sydney against Lebanon. Photo supplied by Football Australia.

Graham Arnold made four changes to his starting side in Canberra on Tuesday night, that defeated Lebanon 2-0 in Sydney.

Ajdin Hrustic, Mitch Duke, Craig Goodwin, and Gethin Jones all came into the starting XI for the Socceroos, while Joel King and Josh Nisbet came into the match-day squad after injuries to Jordan Bos, Riley McGree, and a suspension to Keanu Baccus who picked up a second yellow in the qualifying campaign.

Goodwin would have an immediate impact after recovering from an illness which kept him out of the game in Sydney, crossing the ball in to Kusini Yengi.

Yengi, who got the rebound off his own shot, sent the sold-out crowd of 25023 into rapturous delight, opening the scoring in just the second minute of play to give the Aussies a 1-0 lead, joining Kye Rowles and Baccus in scoring their first goals for Australia during this international window.

Both sides would have some good opportunities as the first half continued, with Australia almost scoring a second goal in the 43rd minute as Harry Souttar headed a cross towards the net, but it would hit the post and go out of play for a goal-kick.

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The tactics from Lebanon in the first half off parking the bus and going down at the slightest touch began to frustrate the Aussies, who were unable to effectively break down the defence and resulted to crosses from the wings in an attempt to score.

The early goings of the second half would see Australia start strong, with an own goal to Basel Jradi in the 47th minute giving Graham Arnold’s side a 2-0 lead, which would become 3-0 in the 48th minute.

Hrustic would send the ball out to Goodwin on the left wing, with the South Australian cutting back on the inside and bring the ball under control before striking it on the half-volley on the edge of the 18-yard box past the keeper.

Two more players would make their Socceroos debut in the second half, following on from John Iredale in Sydney, with Patrick Yazbek replacing an injured Hrustic to become cap 641, while Josh Nisbet would come on a few minutes later replacing Connor Metcalfe to become cap 642.

After his debut in Sydney, Iredale would not have to wait long after replacing Kusini Yengi in the 66th minute, scoring his first Socceroos goal in the 68th minute to give the Aussies a 4-0 lead.

Iredale would begin to visibly tear up after scoring his goal, showing how much it meant to him to score for the national team.

Goodwin would score a brace in the 81st minute to make it 5-0, putting the result well beyond doubt.

With two matches to go in the second round of 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualification, the Socceroos would remain on top of Group I with four wins from four, having yet to concede a goal as well.

Their next matches in Group I to round our the second round of qualification will be away to Bangladesh and at home to Palestine during the June international window.

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