Aussies Abroad: Dougall & Rukavytsya score in weekend of mixed fortunes
A handful of Socceroos competed in season-defining matches over the weekend in Scotland’s Cup and England’s League One, with some of experiencing grief and others finding glory.
Saturday night saw Scottish Cup Final agony for Hibernian, going down 1-0 to St Johnstone at Hampton Park. Socceroos Martin Boyle and Jackson Irvine played full matches and picked up a booking each, with Irvine nearly taking one of Hibs' best chances of the match which was saved inside half an hour.
The result was not to be for our Aussies, with Hibernian failing to finish off their season with silverware after enjoying a historic league finish.
England’s League One play-offs garnered differing fates for our Aussies, with the two teams who will battle for a place in the Championship now confirmed.
Kenny Dougall got on the scoresheet for Blackpool, as The Seasiders booked their place in the play-off final after a 3-3 draw with Oxford United. Dougall managed to traverse his defender within the penalty box, latching onto a loose ball and volleying home, with the 13th minute goal crucial as Blackpool had fallen behind early in the match.
Unfortunately for Australian supporters, the play-off final at Wembley will not showcase a match-up of Socceroos, with Bailey Wright’s Sunderland unable to overcome Lincoln City in the tie, despite being victorious in the second leg.
Wright played the full 90 minutes with The Black Cats requiring a victory by two goals. Sunderland led at half-time by the required margin but an away goal from Lincoln’s Tom Hopper diminished all hopes at the Stadium of Light.
The weekend also saw 20-year-old Tyrese Francois make his Premier League debut for Fulham FC. The youngster was brought on after 76 minutes, with the Cottagers chasing the game, down 2-0 to Newcastle United.
Nikita Rukavytsya returned to the scoresheet during Maccabi Haifa's 2-0 victory over Ashdod, helping extend their lead to four points at the top of the Israeli top-flight.
Ajdin Hrustic’s side Eintracht Frankfurt will be rueing the opportunities missed earlier in the season, finishing just a single point out of the Bundesliga UEFA Champions League places.
Hrustic started for the first time this season in Frankfurt’s 3-1 home victory to Frieburg, eventually being substituted after 75 minutes, with Hutter opting for a more defensive mindset as the hosts attempted to hold their slender lead.
Mathew Leckie's Hertha Berlin confirmed their safety from relegation despite being defeated 2-1 by Hoffenheim. Leckie started for the Berlin outfit, eventually being replaced after an hour of play as their campaign came to a close.