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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 November 2017
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2017 SPORT Mission accomplished! Next stop Russian World Cup GEORGE STOGIANNOU Amidst euphoric scenes at Sydney’s AANZ stadium on Wednesday evening, Socceroos players, coaching staff, and fans embraced and celebrated the safe passage of their country to the 2018 Russian World Cup. Australia’s 3-1 victory over a stubborn Honduras was the culmination of a marathon qualifying route involving 22 games, and brought with it a sense of relief, pride and in some sense a vindication of the way the team have played and the preparation that went into getting there. When the excitement dies down and the match against Honduras is watched again in the cold light of day, Australians may light a candle to the soccer gods that things eventually went their way in the crucial deciding game. After a nervous first half in which the visitors succeeded in slowing the Australians down and restricting them to just one clear chance on goal, the Socceroos broke through the stubborn Honduran resistance when Tom Rogic embarked on a long run into the Honduran defence stopped only by a foul on the edge of the box. The resultant free kick taken by skipper Mile Jedinak took a wicked deflection off a Honduran defender past his keeper and into the net. It was just the sort of break Australia needed. Twenty minutes later, the Socceroos doubled their lead. Again things went their way, this time after the eagle-eyed Argentinian referee spotted a handball by Honduran midfielder Bryan Acosta. It was missed by the Socceroos players and had the offense not taken place so close to the ref, it might have been they’ve had to endure a lot. “I’ll sit down with the powers-that-be over the next few days and we’ll discuss everything, bring it to a head and make a decision.” “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, these last four years. Going to a World Cup (in 2014) with really a rookie squad and knowing we had to win the Asian Cup (in 2015),” he said. Australia coach Ange Postecoglou celebrates winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Intercontinental play-off. PHOTO: AAP VIA AP/DAVID MOIR missed altogether. Captain Jedinak made no mistake from the spot kick. By now the Socceroos sensed further goals against a tiring opponent whose resistance was waning. Certainly when a Leckie pass over the top picked out Robbie Kruse’s run into the box, all that the Honduran defender could do to prevent the goal was to foul Kruse and concede another penalty which Jedinak dispatched for his third goal of the match. Honduras scored a late consolation at the death when forward Albert Elis scrambled home a corner. After the match, Australian coach Ange Postecoglou said of qualifying for Russia, “It’s a fantastic achievement and we shouldn’t take it for granted, and we should appreciated that come June next year, there’ll be some very strong footballing nations who are going to be watching us, while they’re on holidays.” On being asked about whether he’ll go to Russia as coach of the Socceroos, Postecoglou replied “I’m going to enjoy tonight. I owe it to myself, I owe it to my wife, my kids,” Postecoglou said. “I’m pretty thick-skinned but “Coaching your own country has its advantages but the one disadvantage is if things go wrong there’s nowhere to hide.” “I’ve been coaching for 21 years, mate. I won my first championship when I was 31 years old. “And you know what? I can coach for another 20 years and I’ll always be an outsider in Australian football. I don’t have the glittering Socceroo career you need, but that’s fine. I wear that as a badge of honour. “The more that comes my way the more determined and resilient I am to keep going own my own path. It’s worked well for me. “I’ve had a hell of a lot of support from players, coaches, and the general sporting public. “There’s not a day goes by when it doesn’t happen. Maybe I just see the nice ones. “I told the players we’re not going to take a backward step. We’re going to be bold and ambitious and with that will come some scrutiny. “It’s a lot easier to take the comfortable road. It could have been convenient for me to say it’s a young group and we’ve got to be patient but all along I’ve pushed and pushed and pushed. “They’ve embraced it. We’ve played 22 games of World Cup qualifying and lost two.” GEORGE STOGIANNOU Adelaide United scored a timely confidence-boosting 2-1 away win over Central Coast Mariners on Thursday evening. The win halts a three-match losing streak for Marco Kurz’s team and comes less than a week before the Reds’ FFA Cup final showdown this coming Tuesday against League powerhouse Sydney FC. Adelaide’s win in Gosford came just days after the Mariners inflicted a shock 2-0 defeat on Sydney FC in their Rd 6 encounter. The Reds had to fight back after conceding a 40th-minute penalty to the home team which Wout Brama converted. However a stunning strike by German midfielder Daniel Adlung put the Reds back on level terms in the second half before wing-back Ryan Kitto netted an injury time winner for the Reds bringing the Mariners crashing back to earth with a thud. The Reds’ FFA Cup final opponents this coming Tuesday, Sydney FC, face a potentially tough encounter today against surprise league leader Newcastle Jets just three days before the Cup final. Sydney have had the wood on the Jets for a long time and will be determined preserve their unbeaten home record. They’ll be bolstered by the inclusion of skilful Polish import Adrian Mierzejewski, and Charles Lokolingoy. The Jets also welcome back players Daniel Georgievski and Kosta Petratos, among others. Saturday’s other scheduled match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix has DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Reds warm up for Cup fInal showdown against Sydney with Rd 7 victory Melbourne Victory youngster Christian Theoharous (r) made an impact off the bench against the Roar last week. been postponed due to the state of the pitch. Closing out Round seven on Sunday is Melbourne Victory’s visit to Perth Glory. Victory find themselves without a win from their six matches this season, and second from the bottom. It welcomes back into the squad internationals Troisi, Milligan, and Barbarouses, although coach Muscat may keep Milligan and Barbarouses on the bench for the start of the match. Perth, on the other hand, will be eager to make amends for their 5-2 drubbing away to Wellington Phoenix last round, but will have to do it without the services of injured striker Adam Taggart, who is out with a hamstring injury. Victory have several attacking options apart from Berisha, including Barbarouses, Leroy George, Troisi, and Mitch Austin who returns to the squad from suspension. Also available to coach Muscat is 17-year-old left winger Christian Theoharous whose cameo off the bench last week produced a strong run and cross which led to a Beshart Berisha goal in the 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar. “Chris comes on and he was positive. You sensed that he was playing without any burden, without any pressure or lack of confidence – all the things you get labelled with,” said the coach. “When Chrissy did come on he was playing without any stress and he played with some belief. “His age is one thing. There’s a number of things. You can’t just use age in isolation. Chrissy’s got some very good assets that many in the A-League haven’t got. “There’s still some areas he needs to work on and he’s maturing as he goes along. He’s got a real big opportunity – but ultimately it’s going to be down to him to make the right steps forward and take that opportunity. “There’s still some games, some training [to undertake], but his enthusiasm and his brightness [stand out] – almost to the extent where he didn’t respect the opposition in a nice way. He just wanted to get at them and not show any fear and not ‘respect them’. I thought he was bright.” Wanderers appoint Arthur Diles as new Youth League coach Hot on the heels of appointing former Adelaide United boss Josep Gombau as their new senior coach, A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers has announced the appointment of Authur Diles as coach of their National Youth League squad for the 201718 season. Diles is a former Sydney Olympic player who went on to become the technical director at Olympic between 2013 -2015, and has a strong history and experience in youth development. He first joined the Wanderers in 2015 when he took charge of the U-18 squad. Last season he coached the Wanderers’ U-20 team to a grand final win, as well as serving as an assistant coach to the Youth League squad. He takes over the Youth League squad at a club which has proved to be something of a nursery for Young Socceroos: they’ve provided seven members of the young Socceroos team who recently topped their qualifying group in Vietnam to reach the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship. Diles is also involved in the Real Madrid Foundation Clinics in Australia aimed at training girls and boys of all levels aged from 7-16 years with school holiday programs, and providing coaching seminars to junior and youth coaches. Prior to being technical director at Sydney Olympic, Diles was head coach and director of AEK FC Football Academy in Australia.
11 November 2017
25 November 2017