By Colm Boohig
The Socceroos continue their quest for Asian Cup glory in Sydney tonight as they entertain Oman at the ANZ Stadium. Confidence is high after the 4-1 drubbing of Kuwait, but that victory came at a cost with captain Mile Jedinak picking up an ankle injury. The Crystal Palace midfielder is definitely ruled out of this evening’s game and is a serious doubt for the crucial final Group A contest with heavyweights South Korea.
Speaking to the media yesterday, coach Ange Postecoglu said he is keen to make some alterations to his side ahead of the second game in order to avoid the burnout his side succumbed to at last year’s World Cup.
“We learned pretty clearly at the World Cup that by the third game against Spain we were pretty spent as a group because we relied on a fairly core group of players,” Postecoglou said on Monday.
“And not just for those games but even in the lead-up and we don’t want to fall into the same trap. We want to do well in all three games and tomorrow night is a very important game for us.”
Melbourne Victory captain Mike Milligan is the favourite to replace Jedinak tonight, with Tim Cahill set to wear the armband. Milligan is just one of a handful of changes expected. Oman has proved to be frustrating opposition for the Socceroos in recent times – holding them to consecutive draws during the last World Cup qualifying campaign as well as securing a famous victory in this fixture in 2013.
A narrow defeat in the opening game against South Korea shows that Oman can be dangerous and so must be taken seriously by the Socceroos. No doubt, all Australian sporting eyes will be on Sydney tonight.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia