Luongo praises Juric after Caltex Socceroos win

Caltex Socceroo attacking midfielder Massimo Luongo praised striker Tomi Juric after the pair hit the net in Australia’s 2-0 win over Iraq on Thursday night.

QPR’s Luongo, on the left of a front three, slotted home the decisive opener just before the hour mark courtesy of a Juric assist.

And seven minutes later the FC Luzern central striker got his reward for a strong display by poking home a second.

Caltex Socceroos’ winning start against Iraq

It was the perfect start to Australia’s first group game in the final phase of World Cup qualification.

 Luongo enjoyed the freedom to get forward and the chance to work with a "big number nine" like Juric. 

Tomi Juric celebrates after scoring  in Australia's WCQ win over Iraq in Perth.

Luongo’s link-up play with Juric was excellent and as the game wore on, the pair became more influential.

“He offers something different. Every player that we put in from the 23 they offer something different and Tomi’s that big number nine that we can look forward to if we have to with a release," Luongo told reporters after the game. 

“And he offers something in behind as well and he gets in the box which is handy.

“I wouldn’t say I got forward deliberately. I’d say it was just the way the game panned out,” Luongo added.

“The message more when I play for the Socceroos is to get on the ball more and try and threaten the goal be it with a pass or getting in the box.

“It did take a while for the opportunity to get in the box because they were quite tight at the back, but as the game went on they tired and we worked them well and got our chances.”

Massimo Luongo celebrates with Aaron Mooy and Brad Smith after opening the scoring against Iraq in WCQ.

The message at half-time was be patient, said Luongo. 

“The message was just keep doing what you’re doing and if anything don’t be impatient. We kept probing and to be fair they defended well and they had a game plan.

“But to be fair, to do that for 90 minutes is difficult.”