24/04/2024

Keanu Baccus in action for the Socceroos against Uzbekistan at the 2023 Asian Cup. Photo Credit: Aleksandar Jason/Subway Socceroos

The Socceroos would be helped to a 2-0 victory by two players scoring their first national team goals in front of a crowd of 27,026 people on Thursday night.

Keanu Baccus would open the scoring for the Socceroos in quite some style, putting the ball in to the net from a 45 degree angle just outside of the 18 yard box.

The fifth minute goal was the first as a Socceroo for the midfielder.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold would be forced into two first-half changes due to injury.

Riley McGree was substituted in the 16th minute with a foot injury, being replaced by Jordan Bos.

Bos would then be substituted himself in the 42nd minute with a knee injury, with the playing surface chopping up more and more as the first half went on.

Post-game, Arnold said he expects that both players are out for the game on Tuesday, and said he could not comment on whether the pitch contributed to the injuries.

Kye Rowles, who was named player of the match, would also score his first goal for the national side in the 54th minute to make it 2-0 in favour of the Aussies.

The goal came from the second phase of a set piece to give the home side some breathing room as they looked to remain undefeated in the second round of World Cup Qualifying.

“It’s pretty special,” Rowles said post-game when asked about the goal.

“I haven’t had many in my career and obviously the first one for the national team.

“I can’t even explain it to be honest, it’s still pretty raw.”

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John Iredale would come on as a substitute in the 67th minute, making him cap number 640 for the Socceroos, after not playing during the Asian Cup campaign.

Lebanon would almost score their first goal against the Socceroos through Daniel Kuri after picking up the ball in the attacking third with Lebanon’s best opportunity of the game.

The goalpost, however, would come to Australia’s aid for a third time in this game after redirecting the two Australian goals in, it would keep this one out.

Karim Darwich would almost find the back of the net for Lebanon, forcing Mat Ryan into a save from a set piece.

The re-bound would then be crossed back into the box, with Kuri unable to turn his header goal bound in what would be the final action of the game.

The Socceroos now turn their action to the second game against Lebanon in this window, taking place in Canberra on Tuesday.

Arnold said that Craig Goodwin is expected to come back into the side after his illness, noting that he is already in Canberra.

He also said that Nisbet would come in to the squad after being left out for this game.

“The only reason I didn’t put him in tonight is because he’s only had three days with us,” Arnold said.

“He’s had pretty much just one session, but he’s fantastic.

“I’d love nothing more than to debut him down in Canberra on Tuesday, but the most important thing is [that] we win the game and that we get everything right.”

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