Aussies Abroad Preview: Taggart continues giant-killing run in Japan, Duke closes in on J2 leaders

Now that most European leagues have concluded their domestic competitions, it's time to broaden our horizon and focus on the Aussies making immense progress in leagues across Asia, Scandinavia and North America

In Japan, Adam Taggart and his Cerezo Osaka are primed to make a title push, after two famous victories against the J-League's two largest clubs.

Meanwhile, Mitch Duke's side will be hoping to further close the gap on the J2 top three, as automatic promotion becomes the Socceroo's main objective.

Socceroos Next Fixtures - June Playoffs

Asia & The Middle East

Adam Taggart will look to continue a strong week of performances for his side Cerezo Osaka, as they travel to relegation threatened Shoanan Bellmare (Sunday 4pm AEST) in the J-League. After a famous come from behind derby victory last weekend against Gamba Osaka, Taggart's side defeated another Japanese giant in Urawa Red Diamonds midweek.

Now into fifth position, Cerezo head into Gameweek 16 full of confidence, with an AFC Champions league spot sill very much up for grabs, as only five points separate the league's top three from the Australian international and his side.


The quest for automatic promotion heats up for Mitch Duke and his Fagiano Okayama team, having now passed the mid-way point of the J2 season, firmly entrenched within the league's top six. Up next for the Socceroos forward is mid-table outfit V-Varen Nagasaki away from home (Sunday 3pm AEST), with the opponents proving to be difficult to break down, having only conceded nineteen times this season, three goals less then competitions leaders Vegalta Sendai.

After a two week hiatus to the Saudi Arabian Pro League, Martin Boyle's Al-Faisaly return, with a clash at home to Al-Ittifaq (Sunday 2:20am). The tie is incredibly significant as Al-Faisaly's league fate remains uncertain for next season, despite their heroics in the Champions League, with three games now remaining and five sides battling  for survival, with the contest for three spots possibly coming down to the final day. 

Continental Europe

The matches come thick and fast in Norway, with Gianni Stensness lining up for his fifth league match in less than two weeks, as his side Viking Fotballklubb prepare for an enormous away tie at Strømsgodset (Sunday 2am AEST).

The league title is very much a possibility for both teams heading into the fourth versus second clash, yet any dropped points from either side, will see them lose valuable ground on leaders Lillestrom, who may potentially extend their championship margin to more than five points.

Thursday night in Denmark, Joel King was an unused substitute in OB's Danish Cup Final penalty shootout loss. Scores remained deadlocked at 0-0 through 90 minutes and extra-time, as FC Midtjylland won 4-3 from the spot to claim their second Cup triumph.

The United States

To Major League Soccer, where Socceroos defender Milos Degenek and his Columbus Crew travel south to one of the league's most hostile away trips, Atlanta United's Mercedes-Benz Arena (Sunday 9am AEST), which consistently packs in more than 40,000 red and black fanatics.

The Ohio side will be confident, with only three points separating the sides and a form guide which sees the Crew traditionally perform well in the deep southern heat, compared to the other clubs from the cooler mid-west of the country.

Defender Brad Smith is also in action for capitol side D.C United, as they venture two hours north to New York City, to face an in-form Red Bull side (Sunday 9am AEST), who have been defeated just once in their past ten MLS league matches. Smith will be hoping to overtake compatriot Degenek in the Eastern Conference, with just a point difference between D.C and Columbus.

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