Work to do for Roos despite friendly win

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A huge week looms for Socceroos coach Graham Arnold ahead of the must-win World Cup play-off against the UAE after a brace of set-piece goals secured a 2-1 friendly win over Jordan in Qatar.

Bailey Wright and Awer Mabil hit the target to secure a comeback win for Australia after a thunderbolt by Musa Al-Taamari had fired Jordan into an early lead at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Doha on Wednesday (Thursday AEST).

The win is just Australia's second from their past eight games and gave Arnold plenty to ponder heading into Tuesday's (Wednesday AEST) clash with the UAE.

"Probably couldn't have had a better game to play to be honest," Arnold told Network 10.

"Jordan, good side, they've changed enormously since the new coach. They put us under pressure and that's the perfect game that you want.

"We'll go back and review the game and obviously there's a lot to work on still.

"The good thing is this is the longest I've ever been able to coach them for. Seven or eight days.

"We've got another six days now before the UAE game and no days off. It's all work and we'll get things right."

Arnold used the match to get valuable match time into the legs of midfielder Aaron Mooy, whose importance to the squad has only been enhanced by Tom Rogic's withdrawal for personal reasons earlier in the week.

In what what his first competitive appearance since starting Australia's 2-2 draw with Oman in February, Mooy played 61 minutes and cracked a free-kick off the post early in the second half.

Arnold also handed a Socceroos debut to Central Coast defender Kye Rowles, while Jason Davidson made his first international appearance since 2015 as Martin Boyle, Mitch Duke, Joel King, Mathew Leckie and Adam Taggart were all rested.

Australia were immediately on the backfoot however when Al-Taamari's 18th-minute rocket from well outside the box, finishing off some neat build-up play by the Jordanians, gave Maty Ryan no chance.

The Socceroos were fortunate to escape further damage later in the first half when Wright caught Jordanian forward Ali Olwan inside the penalty area but the referee waved play on.

Seconds later Wright turned hero for Australia when the Sunderland centre-back headed home Craig Goodwin's free-kick to level the scores in the 40th minute.

Mooy, on his 50th appearance for Australia, hit the woodwork early in the second half before Jordan created a couple of dangerous chances on the counter, including another penalty shout.

Shortly after Mooy's withdrawal with half an hour to play, Australia took the lead.

Jordan goalkeeper Yazid Abu Layla saved smartly from another Wright header, this time from a corner, with Mabil able to acrobatically finish after Nicholas D'Agostino headed the loose ball back towards goal.

"I think that's the first time we've come back since I've been in charge," Arnold said.

"It was really interesting and good to see the reaction when we went down one-nil because in the past few games when we've gone down one-nil or something's happened, we've fallen apart.

"Tonight that wasn't the case."

Australia now turn their attentions towards the UAE, with a victory in that game setting up another play-off against South America's Peru in Qatar the following week for a spot in the World Cup finals in Qatar.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting