Arnold lauds young stars in successive win over Lebanon

Arnold lauds young stars in successive win over Lebanon

The Socceroos delivered a dominant 5-1 victory over Lebanon at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Tuesday night to move another step closer to qualifying for their sixth FIFA World Cup campaign.

In a sign of good things to come for the national team, midfielders Patrick Yazbek and Josh Nisbet made their international debuts for the Socceroos in what was a memorable evening in front of a record crowd in Canberra.

Veteran winger Craig Goodwin starred with a second half double and an assist in his return to the side after missing the Socceroos’ earlier win over Lebanon with illness.

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Coach Graham Arnold was pleased with his side’s effort, reflecting on the young talent that came off the bench and made the match their own.

“I was very happy and proud of the young ones,” he told Ten post-match.

“They took ownership when they went on the park and the future is bright.”

Australia needed less than two minutes to find the back of the net with up-and-coming striker Kusini Yengi scoring his first international goal.

The Socceroos overloaded the left wing before Goodwin sent a low cross to the top of the goal square.

Yengi was in the perfect position in front of goal but pushed his first attempt into the left post before directing his second into the back of the net.

The Socceroos dominated play in the first half but several missed opportunities in front of goal meant they entered the main break with only a one-goal advantage.

In a repeat of the first half, the Socceroos forced an own goal from Lebanon’s Bassel Jradi within minutes of play resuming to lead 2-0.

Moments later, Goodwin scored his first of the evening with a half-volley across the goal face into the bottom far corner of the net.

Second-gamer John Iredale soon followed suit with his first touch off the bench.

Iredale had tears in his eyes after nailing the cross from Yazbek.

The 34-year-old soon turned goal assistor as a handy deflection off a defender set up Goodwin’s second.

Souring the win was a lower leg injury to playmaker Ajdin Hrustic in the second half.

Hrustic had spikes raked down his calf and Achilles by Lebanon’s Alee Tneich in a controversial tackle in the 51st minute.

Tneich was shown a yellow card but the damage was already done with Hrustic requiring help off the field.

The victory solidifies Australia’s position at the top of Group I in the second round of Asian qualifiers with two matches still to play.

The Socceroos will next face Palestine on June 11.

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