12 October 2014 04:32
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou wants attacking improvement as his side continue Asian Cup preparations with a friendly against Qatar.
The Socceroos played out a dull 0-0 draw against the United Arab Emirates in hot and humid conditions in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Postecoglou described his side’s attack as “disjointed”, but he refused to blame the heat for their struggles.
Bernie Ibini, a surprise starter up front, Massimo Luongo, Mathew Leckie and the returning Robbie Kruse battled to create chances.
But James Troisi and Brad Smith brought much-needed life to the contest when introduced on the hour-mark, and they – along with veteran Tim Cahill – could play a bigger part in Doha.
If Postecoglou expected to dominate the UAE he will want likewise against Qatar, who are ranked 96 in the world.
The clean sheet was Australia’s first since a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in November last year, but Postecoglou wants more.
“I don’t go home and pop champagne corks on clean sheets. It doesn’t really excite me,” he told Fox Sports.
“But playing away from home in tough conditions, Maty [goalkeeper Mat Ryan] didn’t really have a save to make; the best save was Wilko [Alex Wilkinson] on the goal line.
“It will be good for their confidence for sure and I thought we defended better as a team. But it’s the kind of game we should look to dominate a bit more.”
Western Sydney Wanderers defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley appears certain to get some game time, while Tommy Oar (groin) and Ivan Franjic (illness) could return.
Qatar come into the clash at the Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Stadium in good form.
Djamel Belmadi’s team, who will also compete at the Asian Cup in Australia in January 2015, thrashed Lebanon 5-0 after a 3-0 victory over Uzbekistan days earlier.
Al Ahli striker Meshal Abdullah has netted in both games, including a brace against Lebanon.
A clash against Australia shapes as a step up in class for Qatar, a team Postecoglou’s men will be eager to dominate.