Ange undaunted in Asian Cup debut

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said he never doubted his side was capable of scoring the goals required to beat Kuwait after conceding early in the opening match of the Asian Cup.

A steely Postecoglou praised the Socceroos' conviction after they recorded a 4-1 win at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium on Friday night but warned they could ill-afford any further lapses in defence.

Some sloppy marking from a corner allowed Hussain Fadel to ghost in unmarked at the front post in the opening minutes and he made no mistake with his first-time header, stunning the parochial home crowd.

“After we self-destructed in the first few minutes, to concede an absolutely unacceptable goal the reaction was great,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports post-match.

“We played with a lot of energy tonight. We knew if we kept the tempo high we’d wear them down. 

“We scored a couple of good goals and probably should’ve had a couple more.”

The win was Australia's first in four matches and just the third under Postecoglou but the Socceroos coach seemed to feel his side's performances in the lead up to the tournament were vindicated by the result.

“A lot of players I thought really took an opportunity tonight to stake their claim in this team.

“I thought we got a bit ragged in the second-half but only because we were to anxious to score goals but overall I thought it was a great reward for the players.”

Despite the many positives the Socceroos will draw from their Group A scoreline Postecoglou reiterated a stern warning for his squad on their defensive duties – which they also no doubt heard at half-time.

“I was just annoyed more than anything else,” said Postecoglou.

“I wasn’t worried because obviously it happened early, so you know you’ve got plenty of time and I was confident with the way the boys had trained we’ve got goals in us and we’d eventually overwhelm them.

“It’s still unacceptable because if we do that one more time we’ll pay a bigger price. 

“The players were told in no uncertain terms that we’ve got to stop making those silly mistakes.”

Postecoglou was reluctant to single out the performance of any individuals in his summation of the match but made special mention of the contribution from man-of-the-match midfielder Massimo Luongo.

“He’s one of the beneficiaries of what we’ve done over the last 12 months," he said. 

“He’s had a lot of experience in camp and played in some good games for him. 

“Watching him train I knew he was ready, I thought he was great.”

The Socceroos will now head to Sydney where they'll continue their campaign against Oman on Tuesday night at Stadium Australia as they seek to become the first host nation to win the Asian Cup in the last six tournaments.

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