In front of a massive crowd, the Caltex Socceroos came from behind to defeat Japan 2-1 in a thriller the last time these two sides met in the Victorian capital.
Just as he did three years earlier at the FIFA World Cup in Germany, it was the talismanic figure of Tim Cahill – and his extraordinary goal-poaching ability – that wreaked havoc on the Japanese at the MCG in 2009.
In this World Cup qualifier, it was the visitors who took the lead just before the break, a goal that stunned the majority of the 74,000 plus crowd.
The powerful Tanaka gave them the lead on 40 minutes, heading home off a set piece past Mark Schwarzer with Cahill himself being out-jumped by the Japan star.
The Samurai Blue, with current EPL winner Shinji Okazaki, Red Diamonds' Yuki Abe and defensive mainstay Marcus Tulio Tanaka in their ranks, edged the opening 45 minutes.
But in the second stanza, Cahill took control.
First, he connected with Vince Grella’s precise free kick into the box as he out-jumped the Japanese defence, his header looping over a desperate Seigo Narazaki in goal.
Game on at 1-1 with the Socceroos gaining the momentum going into the final third of the game.
With 13 minutes of regulation time left, Nick Carle’s corner somehow found its way to Cahill in the six-yard box to poke home the winner.
Cue delirium at the ‘G as Takeshi Okada’s men once again fell foul of Timmy. This was his 16th goal in just 33 Socceroo games.
The Green and Gold superstar was subbed off in the final few minutes for Dario Vidosic, with the cheers of the vocal crowd ringing in his ears.
And when the final whistle went, Australia again had edged the classy Japanese side after drawing 0-0 in Yokohama months earlier.
What will happen this October 11 when these two great rivals meet at Melbourne's Docklands?
Degenek not taking his foot off the gas
Twelve months ago, Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek was playing in Japan — now, he’s tearing up Serbia’s SuperLiga, having been named in the league’s best eleven for the first half of the season. It’s a credit to Degenek, 24, who signed with Red Star Belgrade in July
Degenek named in Serbian Superliga's best XI
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has been named in the Serbian Superliga’s best eleven players of the first half of the season after his performances for Red Star Belgrade. AUSSIES ABROAD: Sainsbury denies former club Inter in first UCL start READ MORE: Where you can w
FFA to conduct additional injury assessment with Aaron Mooy
Football Federation Australia (FFA) acknowledges Huddersfield Town’s statement regarding Aaron Mooy released on Thursday morning (AEDT). Due to the significance of the AFC Asian Cup to the Caltex Socceroos, FFA will proceed with a plan to deploy its High Performance Coordina
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic progress to Europa League Round of 32
The Europa League Round of 32 will have an Aussie flavour after Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic both sealed their progression to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Rogic played 90 minutes as Celtic did it the hard way, their 2-1 loss at the hands of FC Salzbur