FTBL dissects the action as the Socceroos exit stage left, succumbing to a 1-0 loss to hosts United Arab Emirates in the Asian Cup.
Mat Ryan – 7
Saved from Al Hamadi after 20 minutes, and barely had a save to make thereafter. Given little chance of denying Mabkhout after he was sold short by the Degenek back-pass.
Rhyan Grant – 7
Copped (somewhat amusing) boos from the home fans every time he touched the ball – presumably due to his “unethical” haircut.
Slightly hesitant early on and was burned a couple of times by Al Hamadi’s pace. Grew into the game and began flying forward in his regular manner. Hurled several deep long throws into the area in the dying minutes of the game.
Trent Sainsbury – 7
Scored the opening goal against the UAE back in 2015, and almost repeated the trick with a free header from a corner in the first five minutes, but the PSV man mistimed his jump and nodded over. Outstanding positional reads to cut out several promising Emirati attacks.
Milos Degenek – 4
Let Mabkhout out of his sight for what might’ve been a costly moment, but the striker couldn’t connect with the cross. Otherwise solid throughout the first half, and picked out Giannou with a line-splitting pass.
His horror moment came in the 68th minute, when a hospital back-pass fell well short of Ryan and straight into the path of Mabkout, who rounded the goalkeeper and scored with ease. Mohammed Abdulrahaman may have clipped his heels, but it was never enough for a VAR intervention.
Aziz Behich – 6.5
More cautious with his overlaps than his colleague on the opposite flank. Generally solid and wasn’t often beaten down his side, but wasn’t much of an attacking threat.
Mark Milligan – 4
Committed a woeful turnover in the middle of the park that should’ve resulted in the UAE opener, but Al Hamadi couldn’t make him pay.
Unnecessary foul on Bandar gave away a dangerous free kick on the stroke of halftime. From the resulting set piece, a zonal mix-up between he and Sainsbury let Mabkhout in for a free header, but the 2015 Golden Boot winner couldn’t keep the effort down.
Didn’t have the imagination or passing range to bridge the gap between himself and the front four. Committed to 50/50 balls in his usual tenacious manner, but it was quite frankly bizarre that he remained on the pitch as Australia chased the game.
Jackson Irvine – 5.5
Plenty of energy, but his use of the ball lacked imagination, and he failed to take advantage of several headers from set pieces.
Nearly started a fight in stoppage time when he wrestled a prone UAE player to his feet, which will no doubt have won him some admirers in living rooms across Australia.