Asian Cup | Socceroos | A-League | Isaias
Isaias is now an Aussie with the Socceroos in his sights, while the injury concerns grow in the UAE09 January 2019 | FT Editor
- Iraq, 3 v Vietnam, 2
- Saudi Arabia, 4 v North Korea, 0
- Western Sydney Wanderers, 2 v Wellington Phoenix, 3
If you read some media, it seems Graham Arnold is best buddies with everyone. This time it's Bernd Stange. No doubt they know one another from the later NSL days; more than likely, the amiable Socceroos coach and Stange 'got on' and enjoyed mutual respect when they coached teams 3,934 kilometres apart; but “best buddies”? It doesn't matter, but why gild the lily? Why can't they just be respectful and friendly colleagues? Anyway, the point of the story is Stange's record as coach of Syria - whom the Socceroos face in their third group game - as well as his other coaching roles, which includes East Germany (when Stange was 35), Oman, Iraq, Singapore, Ukraine and Belarus. He says he and the team are trying to bring “some joy” back to the people of Syria through the football team.
The Socceroos “injury woes” ($) now include Tom Rogic, Josh Risdon and Andrew Nabbout, but they are all expected to be available for Friday, with assistant coach Rene Meulensteen's comments being later 'clarified' by a spokesman for the Socceroos. And again here.
Meulensteen also gave the message that the players are being told to relax, keep doing what they're doing - but just don't concede first. He says there is “no reason to panic” or to get “carried away with the negativity of the result”.
With several first-choice players sidelined, Arnold may well have only 16 outfield players to choose from for the match v Palestine.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix
If there was any doubt that Wellington Phoenix were on an upwards trajectory, ($) it would have been dispelled after last night's game against Western Sydney Wanderers, writes Ray Gatt. The teams went into the break at 1-1, then scored within two minutes of each other at the 82nd and 84th minutes, only for Western Sydney to be brought undone by a second goal from Wellington's Roy Krishna at 89 minutes. It was the first time Wellington has defeated Western Sydney.
The win also equalled a club record for Wellington with their seventh consecutive unbeaten game, described as “hard luck” for Western Sydney Wanderers who lost both Alexander Baumjohann and Oriol Riera in the first half to injuries.
The 89th minute winner from Krishna was “heartbreaking” for Western Sydney Wanderers who are yet to earn a point this year, and suffering their third consecutive home defeat before just 7,288 people.
Also on an injury list is Georg Niedermeier who joins Keisuke Honda and Nick Ansell on the Melbourne Victory injury list.
The new injury means that Ola Toivonen and Kosta Barbarouses are the only international players at Victory who are not currently injured. Kevin Muscat again praised Toivonen's play and “selflessness”.
Muscat says Niedermeier is “definitely” out this week, and possibly the next 2-3 games, giving him a “defensive headache”. After tonight's match against Adelaide United in Adelaide, Melbourne Victory have five games in 15 days.
Tony Popovic “failed to put to bed” the speculation that there would be a player swap between Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City) and Perth's Andy Keogh. Instead, Popovic fell back on the well-worn 'not responding to speculation in the media' line. Gatt says it's interesting speculation because Keogh - who is about to get permanent residency - is reportedly concerned about his future at Perth when his contract ends at the end of the season, and Fornaroli hasn't played a match since November. Gatt suggests the swap would not be “good business”.
An update to the Michael Lynch story about the Fornaroli/Keogh swap (from yesterday) here.
A former team mate of both Popovic and Steve Corica, Clint Bolton, says both have a “relentless approach to winning” and that Corica's debut season as head coach of Sydney FC is “nothing short of phenomenal”. Bolton believes that both Popovic and Corica have done well in their roles so far, but Corica had the hardest job coming in after the success of Arnold and having lost Bobo and Adrian Mierzejewski.
Sydney FC were “livid” when they learned they would have to make two trips to Perth within 19 days, but trips to Perth are also a “happy hunting ground” for the Sky Blues having won the last nine games in Perth, scoring 18 goals. Their last loss was in November 2013. But records are meant to be broken, are they not?
Isaias (pictured) arrived in Australia as a 25-year-old six years ago looking for adventure. Today, he is an Australian and has “his sights on representing the Socceroos on the world stage.” His naturalisation ceremony took place at Hindmarsh Stadium yesterday, with Isaias saying he is very excited and proud to be an Australian. He says he wants to celebrate with a win against Melbourne Victory tonight. (By the way, gorgeous AAP photo of Isaias and 3-year-old daughter Vega in this story if you click on the link).
Isaias and Vega received their Australian citizenship on the same day; his one-year-old son, Julen is already an Australian as Isaias had permanent resident status when Julen was born. Isaias says he knows it is ambitious to aim for a Socceroos call-up but he “likes to compete and have big goals”.
- Adelaide United vy Melbourne Victory
- Perth Glory v Sydney FC
- Japan v Turkmenistan
- Uzbekistan v Oman
- Qatar v Lebanon
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