Daniel Arzani opens Socceroos account on eve of World Cup

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Rising star Daniel Arzani netted his first goal for Australia as the Socceroos beat Hungary 2-1 on Saturday in their final warm-up friendly ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Following a goalless first half at the Groupama Arena, the deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute by 19-year-old Arzani, who had started the match on the bench but came on for Robbie Kruse in the 73rd minute.

It came about from a well-worked move by the Socceroos as they played the ball out from defence and patiently but deliberately worked the play from right to left.

Jackson Irvine made the final switch to Arzani, who stepped inside two defenders onto his right foot before whipping away a low shot that took an awkward bounce before squirming under Denes Dibusz.

Nonetheless, it did look as though Hungary had force the draw in the 88th minute after Attila Fiola did well to win possession down the right and swing in a cross.

Although the delivery appeared fairly harmless, a moment of hesitation from captain-for-the-day Trent Sainsbury saw him decide at the final moment just as goalkeeper Brad Jones had come out to collect, with both watching on in horror as the ball crept into the unguarded goal.

But, in the second minute of injury-time, Arzani – who will be the youngest player at the World Cup – weighed in with another telling contribution.

Receiving possession by the touchline, the Melbourne City man played an incisive 40-yard pass to release Irvine, whose low cross was poked by Tamas Kadar through his Dibusz’s legs for another comical own-goal.

Still, it is that goal, which sealed a second consecutive win, that ensures Australia head for Russia 2018 brimming with confidence and with an exciting, young talent who could just turn Group C on its head.

HUNGARY: Peter Gulacsi (Denes Dibusz 46’), Gergo Lovrencsics (Attila Fiola 73’), Paulo Vinicius, Tamas Kadar, Janos Szabo, Jozsef Varga, Krisztian Vadocz, Roland Varga, Laszlo Kleinheiser (Marton Eppel 66’), Roland Sallai (Kevin Varga 84’), Adam Szalai (Daniel Bode 62’). 

AUSTRALIA: Mathew Ryan (Brad Jones 46’), Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich, Massimo Luongo (Mile Jedinak 46’), Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie, Tom Rogic (Jackson Irvine 64’), Robbie Kruse (Daniel Arzani 73’), Andrew Nabbout (Tomi Juric 46’).

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