Ange happy with scrappy Socceroos’ victory

Ange Postecoglou hates winning ugly – but in this case, he’ll make an exception.

The Socceroos coach says a tenacious 2-1 triumph against Kyrgyzstan is a mark of his team’s new-found maturity.

“Sometimes you want things easy, but I love the fact that it’s hard,” Postecoglou said.

“And the harder it is through this process, the better the team will come out the other end, provided we keep winning.

“We’re growing as a team and every experience we have will make us better.”

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Postecoglou reckons the Socceroos of a year ago would have faltered in such a brutish battle in Bishkek.

Australia overcame an unheralded opponent, a largely unknown city, a raucous crowd, bumpy pitch, and a primitive ground where they refused to shower post-match – sweaty players instead returned to the team hotel to refresh.


Tim Cahill had a rare goalless outing. Photo: Getty

But with captain Mile Jedinak scoring in 60 seconds before the Kyrgzs touched the ball, and substitute Tommy Oar coolly slotting another in the second half, the Australians held their nerve in a victorious opening to their campaign to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“I’m happy because we have got through that experience and we have won the game,” said Postecoglou, who has a mantra of not just wanting to win, but wanting to win in style.

“They (players) will just learn a hell of a lot playing in that sort of environment because we are going to have to go to places throughout Asia where that sort of atmosphere is common place.

“And if you can deal with it … you would much rather learn those lessons and grow by winning games of football.

“We will grow enormously from a game like that where there was so much you could use as an excuse to not try and play our football and not get a result.”

Postecoglou said his charges appeared underdone in the out-of-season fixture – and for large chunks of the game they were outplayed by an opponent ranked 177th in the world, 114 rungs below Australia, the champions of Asia.

The Kyrgyzs, sparked by a frenzied crowd at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, recorded 19 shots to Australia’s 11 and had nine corners to two but were cruelled by a lack of finishing polish.

“On that pitch it was really hard for us to keep passing through the lines, and we would lose the ball a little bit too easily which allowed them to counter-attack,” Postecoglou said.

“With the crowd behind them they had a lot of energy right throughout the game and we kind of made things difficult for ourselves.”

But ultimately it was mission accomplished, if not an accomplished mission.

“We want to play better obviously. We want to grow from this,” Postecoglou said.

“But considering everything that has been thrown at us … for us to get a win away from home, I’m pleased.”

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