Asian Cup: Australia look to put title defence back on track


Asian Cup: Australia look to put title defence back on track
Australia's defender Aziz Behich (left) in action against Jordan in their first game. (AP)

Dubai - The Socceroos did not have an ideal start to the continental competition

By James Jose

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Published: Thu 10 Jan 2019, 8:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 Jan 2019, 10:34 PM

Australia will be looking to pick up the pieces and put their title defence of the AFC Asian Cup back on track when they take on Palestine in a crucial Group B fixture at the Rashid Stadium on Friday.
The Socceroos did not have an ideal start to the continental competition, stunned by Jordan by a solitary goal at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, in their tournament opener, on Sunday.
Graham Arnold's men have worked on their game since then and will be eager to notch a win when they make their bow in Dubai.
Jordan have already qualified from Group B with two victories, the second victory coming against Syria at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Thursday night.
Australia won the tournament on home soil in 2015 and were runners-up to Japan in the 2011 edition in Qatar.
Defender Milos Degenek believed that the Socceroos will bounce back from the defeat against Jordan and come up with a strong riposte against Palestine.
"We want to go out there and show what we can do and put a good foot forward into going out of the group," Degenek told the official Socceroos website.
"Obviously, we take all the positives out of the game (against Jordan), implement other things into the next game and start the game strong, and show what we're all about," added the 24-year-old.
Playmaker Tom Rogic is expected to feature against Palestine despite hurting his hand during the game against Jordan.
Striker Andrew Nabbout could return against Palestine after missing the game against Jordan because of a groin injury. Coach Arnold will make a late decision on defender Josh Risdon.
Australia, will perhaps be helped by the visit from their families, who have travelled to take in the tournament. The Socceroos run into a spirited Palestine, who held Syria to a goalless draw, despite being down to 10 men.
Palestine, ranked 16th in Asia to Australia's second, have been showing signs of great improvement after making their first appearance in the competition in 2015.    
And Noureddine Ould Ali's men will be hoping for another improved showing against the Aussies.

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