The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015
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News Corp Australia
32 SPORT TUESDAY JANUARY 6 2015 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Cahills going to have back-up SOCCEROOS boss Ange Postecoglou has backed Tim Cahills supporting cast to score Asian Cup goals. And Postecoglou is confident there wont be a repeat of the World Cup collapse against Spain, when Australia ran out of petrol. Cahill has scored eight of Australias 12 goals on Postecoglous watch, including two of the three in Brazil. But Postecoglou said Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse and A-League top scorer Nathan Burns were among the players who could rattle the net this month. Weve got goals in us and I dont think its just relying on Timmy, Postecoglou said. If Timmy scores its great for us as well, but weve got more flexibility. Lecks is going really well and Im sure hes got goals in him at international level, but it takes time. Hes played his 15 games now and once youve played 15-20 games I think you start feeling comfortable, particularly as a goalscorer. If he gets one hell certainly be a threat. He was a threat at the World Cup, he couldve had a couple and he can add something. Krusey hasnt played (a lot) but theres no denying he can score goals at international level. We took Tags (Adam Taggart to the World Cup) on the back of scoring a lot of goals but he was still very inexperienced, but Burnsys not inexperienced. Hes already played national team and hes certainly not there to make up the numbers, hes there to contribute and hes scoring (A-League) goals. Then theres guys from midfield as well, Mile (Jedinak) and Bresh (Mark Bresciano) have scored goals, theyll get into dangerous areas. The 3-0 loss to Spain in Curitiba was a harsh lesson for Postecoglou, whose squad was down to bare bones. But he is more confident in the 23-man squad hes picked for the Asian Cup. We were patched up going into that game. We ran out of petrol, he said. Millsy (Mark Milligan) tweaked his hammy, we thought Bresh was out with a groin but he ended up having to come on, we lost (Ivan) Franjic, Timmy was suspended. And with the Holland game we lost Millsy and Franjic after Chile, we had to shift (Ryan) McGowan to right back and I didnt feel at all comfortable with the options we had. But you look at it now, all the inclusions can play the kind of football we want to play. I just think Ive got a lot more flexibility going into this tournament with the team I can put out there and off the bench than I had at the World Cup. By DAVID DAVUTOVIC Kuwait unfazed by Aussie home advantage KUWAITI midfielder Abdullah Al Buraiki insists his team is not scared of the Socceroos ahead of Friday nights eagerly anticipated Asian Cup opener. But defender Khaled Ebrahim conceded yesterday that the bizarre cancellation of last Saturdays scheduled friendly match against the United Arab Emirates was a blow to Kuwaits preparations. The Kuwait team arrived in Melbourne on Sunday night and last night held its first training session at Port Melbournes SS Anderson Oval. Kuwait, known as Al-Azraq (The Blue), was the last team to beat the Socceroos on home soil, in Canberra in a March 2009 qualifier for the 2011 Asian Cup. And Al Buraiki said their team did not have any fear of their opponents. Kuwait is not scared of any team, Al Buraiki said. Kuwait respect all teams (who) play against us and Aus tralia is a very good team, they play in the World Cup. The fans have a great role for Australia, but we like to play matches in front of big crowds like that. Its a difficult match against Australia, especially as its the opening match of the competition. Kuwait was to play the UAE on the Gold Coast, but the match was cancelled owing to a disagreement about the filming of the match. Ebrahim said their new coach Nabil Maaloul had wanted to film the game for analysis purposes, given he has only been in the job a month after taking over from the sacked Jovran Viera. Maaloul was previously coach of Qatari club side El Jaish and UAE feared Maaloul would pass footage on to the Qatari national team, which plays UAE in their opening Asian Cup match in Canberra on Sunday. Ryans Asian Cup audition to entice Euro big boys SOCCEROOS goalkeeper Mat Ryan says he is definitely open to offers as the Asian Cup looms as his audition for European superpowers. The 22-year-old is rumoured to be in the sights of Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and other big European clubs following his stunning form for his Belgian outfit Club Brugge. Its obviously flattering to have the interest, Ryan said. I had a bit of interest when I was in Europe last year. (But) interest is just interest. You never know if its true or not until something solid comes through, but its obviously flattering nonetheless. Ryan, entrenched as Australias first choice keeper for the Asian Cup, which starts against Kuwait on Friday, feels ready to take his rapid-rise career to the next club level. In the last few months, I have come along in leaps and bounds: my performances have been getting better and better, he said. Im very happy with where I am at Club Brugge we are always going to be in contention there for trophies and the (UEFA) Champions League. If something was to come along, and if its in a better league, a better team, then I feel as if I would back myself to go there and do well. Ryans stocks have soared since leaving the A-League and Central Coast Mariners in 2013, with the shot-stopper admitting having to pinch him self at how quickly he has risen through the ranks. Everything seems to be coming so quick, he said. But Im really loving my football. We all sacrifice so much being away from our families and all those sorts of things and its all worth it. Ryan said his sole focus now was to deliver Australia an Asian Cup on home soil. By STEVE LARKIN THE BATTLE FOR MIDFIELD Five players competing for one midfield position against Kuwait ALL MATCHES LIVE ON DAYS TO GO3 Tickets at afcasiancup.com TOMMY OAR Is playing at the highest level of the five. Although he hasnt scored he has made seven assists in 12 games (only Ajaxs Davy Klaassen, 8, has more). Oar has a point to prove after an underwhelming World Cup and his ability to run at players complements the technical Mark Bresciano. 11 TOMMY OAR AGE: 23 CAPS: 20 GOALS: 1 CLUB: FC Utrecht, NETH STYLE Formerly a winger, his club uses him more centrally and he has adapted well. Is capable of beating players and setting up goals, but it most dangerous from set pieces. 17 MATT McKAY AGE: 31 CAPS: 50 GOALS: 1 CLUB: Brisbane Roar STYLE Mr Reliable. Directness and stamina is perfectly suited to Australias system. His World Cup performance against the Netherlands did wonders for his confidence. 5 MARK MILLIGAN AGE: 29 CAPS: 33 GOALS: 2 CLUB: Melbourne Victory STYLE Started in the World Cup opener against Chile before getting injured. The more attacking formation isnt ideal for Milligan, whose strength is his defensive awareness. 14 JAMES TROISI AGE: 26 CAPS: 16 GOALS: 1 CLUB: Zulte Waregem, BEL STYLE His move to Belgium, where he has scored four goals in 14 games, will fill the lightning quick attacker with confidence. The left footer is more suited to the central role and will get time on the pitch. 21 MASSIMO LUONGO AGE: 22 CAPS: 5 GOALS: 0 CLUB: Swindon Town, ENG STYLE The big bolter since the World Cup, where he made the 23-man squad but didnt play. Is on fire as an attacking midfielder with his club and it has showed in his Socceroos performances since Brazil. TR OI SI M cK AY M IL LI GA N LU ON GO DAVUTOVICS VERDICT Socceroos keeper Mat Ryan For all the latest news, scores and highlights, visit