Only fate righted the wrong of Mooy’s benching


MATCH REPORT: Cahill the Socceroos’ saviour again

AS IT HAPPENED: Relive the action on our minute-by-minute blog

It’s no great exaggeration to say that the moment in the 11th minute that Brad Smith limped off, having apparently strained that muscle, was one of the most pivotal of this game, for it brought Aaron Mooy into play. And while no one can be certain how the game would have played out otherwise, any alternative scenarios without Mooy to the fore would be too painful to contemplate.

Thank heaven for Mooy and for Cahill because Australia won despite the tactics employed, and despite the team selection, not because of them. Postecoglou’s attempts since March to have his team play in a cutting-edge system instead came dangerously close to cutting their own throats.

Mooy was the best player on the pitch - once Brad Smith’s injury brought him off the bench.

Mooy was the best player on the pitch – once Brad Smith’s injury brought him off the bench.Source:Getty Images

If it seems churlish to be so negative in the wake of a win, let’s glory for a moment in the performance of Mooy and the enduring big-match mentality of Cahill.

Mooy’s biggest quality is his unerring ability to play the right pass, whether over 40m or four. He sees angles light years before others but has an instinct for when to make the pass as much as where.

From the moment he was introduced as Smith’s replacement he became the team’s fulcrum. The pass he levied to Robbie Kruse to set up the winner was just one in a lengthy list.

Cahill ability to perform in the moments it matters is almost unparalleled.

Cahill ability to perform in the moments it matters is almost unparalleled.Source:AFP

An equally lengthy list is Cahill’s 50 goals for his country. Not for him the temptation to achieve it in a run of the mill qualifier. It had to be on the biggest stage, just as the biggest prize seemed to be slipping out of reach.

And so Australia haul themselves into one final battle, a final playoff next month, and the pulse rates won’t go down.

Tim Cahill: ‘I knew I was gonna score’3:17

Socceroos: Socceroos captain Tim Cahill speaks after scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Syria.

  • October 10th 2017
  • an hour ago
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Postecoglou won’t change his ways, almost wilfully perverse in response to the tactical criticism he seems to take as a personal slight. The fact many of his players seem deeply uncomfortable in the system he demands won’t be allowed to change the course he sails upon.

Nor will Football Federation Australia change either. They gave their coach a mandate and have backed him to see it through. So the breathless drama will continue to the end, and we hope that those moments of individual brilliance prove enough to reach the World Cup.



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