Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Postecoglou hails returning Kruse in Australia romp

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Mar 2016

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Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was delighted to see a majestic display from Robbie Kruse in the 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over Jordan in Sydney.

Postecoglou’s side would have ceded top spot in Group B and automatic progression to the next phase of the AFC section with defeat to Harry Redknapp’s men, but such a reverse rarely appeared to be on the cards.

A first-half brace from Tim Cahill either side of an Aaron Mooy strike – all set up  by Kruse – laid the foundations and the damage for Jordan would have been far more severe than second-half goals from Tom Rogic and substitute Massimo Luongo if not for late heroics by goalkeeper Amer Shafi.

Kruse’s career stalled after suffering ankle ligament damage during last year’s Asian Cup final triumph over South Korea at Allianz Stadium, and a season-long loan at Stuttgart was cut short in February prompting a return to parent club Bayer Leverkusen. 

But Postecoglou is thrilled the forward is showing signs of returning back to his best.

“Robbie’s story got forgotten a bit in the Asian Cup and it did cost him probably a year of his career,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.

“It’s a privilege for these guys to play for their country but you have to remember that sometimes it’s also a sacrifice.

“I was super rapt for him. He looked really sharp and, hopefully, this means that he’s back to his best. It looks like he will be.”

Tuesday’s victory followed a 7-0 thumping of Tajikistan last week and Postecoglou is understandably pleased by his side’s progress.

“It was good, full credit to the boys. It’s been two strong performances and I think people are starting to appreciate the way they play their football.

“[Jordan] are a dangerous opponent who had everything to play for.”

Rogic followed a brace against Tajikistan with Australia’s coolly taken fourth this time out and was happy to avenge a 2-0 defeat in Jordan earlier in the campaign.

The Celtic midfielder told Fox Sports:  “We started off really well. It was a bit tense in the first five or 10 minutes but them we opened them up again and again.

“It could have been a bit more clinical, we could have had a few more goals.    

“We paid the price over there because we didn’t perform. It wasn’t anything they did that was special.

“We fixed those errors. It’s always good to score and nice to get the result.”

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