A day to remember: the Caltex Socceroos' last outing in Brisbane
The Caltex Socceroos are heading back to Brisbane for the first time in three years when they take on Korea Republic in new coach Graham Arnold’s first home game in charge.
The two AFC rivals have a long and storied rivalry, including the last time they met back in the 2015 Asian Cup final, famously won by Australia 2-1 after extra-time.
At the same tournament, the two nations played in Brisbane, with Korea emerging narrow 1-0 winners in the group stage.
But the last time the Caltex Socceroos played at Suncorp Stadium came just a few days after that clash with Korea Republic, a crucial AFC Asian Cup quarter-final against China.
Here’s a look back at that match, with a certain Tim Cahill stealing the show.
Coach Ange Postecoglou made seven changes to the side that lost to Korea Republic a few days earlier and it was an edgy start by the Green and Gold.
China set up deep and looked to frustrate the home side, springing forward quickly in transition whenever they had the chance, with playmaker Wu Lei the constant danger.
Keeper Mat Ryan made a crucial save to keep out Ji Xiang’s header, before the same player flashed wide soon after.
Australia finally found their groove midway through the half as skipper Mile Jedinak put a headed chance into the side netting, before Mat Leckie’s run and shot forced China's Wang Dalei into a quality save.
Defender Trent Sainsbury then had a chance from a free-kick just before the break but couldn’t keep his header down.
The two teams went to half-time goalless but the Caltex Socceroos were dominating possession (they had 78% in the first half) and had all the momentum going into the second half.
COMETH THE MOMENT, COMETH TIM CAHILL
Cahill was kept in check by the Chinese defence for the opening 45 minutes but – as he had done numerous times in his international career – delivered when Australia needed him most.
Just four minutes after the break, Cahill produced another moment of pure magic to open the scoring – and ultimately break China’s resolve.
Having scored a spectacular goal that was seen right around the world just a few months earlier, his stunning volley against the Netherlands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, Australia’s talisman came up with another goal of beauty.
As a looping ball in the box came down with Cahill’s back to goal, the veteran striker rocked back and hit an overhead kick on a tough angle that flew into the far side of the net.
Cahill ran off for his trademark celebration at the corner flag as the Suncorp Stadium crowd celebrated wildly, and China’s players were left stunned.
A MOMENT OF MAGIC
"It's instinct. The World Cup (goal) was probably a fluke like people are saying, and that is probably a fluke again,” Cahill said with a smile at the time.
"I still know I can write my own script and at the same time affect football in a big way in Australia because I have never ever once not believed in the national team jersey."
Cahill wasn’t done there, adding a second goal 25 minutes from time with a far more trademark finish.
Left-back Jason Davidson sent in another inch-perfect cross from the left, with Cahill rising highest to plant a header into the corner of the net.
Job done, with the Caltex Socceroos going on to play UAE in the semi-finals on their way to that historic win over Korea Republic in the final in Sydney.
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