In-form midfielder Aaron Mooy says quick ball movement and a ruthless streak in front of goal will be vital to the Caltex Socceroos' hopes of victory against Tajikistan on Thursday night.
The Australians are bracing for a tricky test at Adelaide Oval against a side ranked 83 places below them on the FIFA world rankings.
It took a late Tim Cahill brace to secure a 3-0 win the last time the two nations met in Dushanbe last year, with Ange Postecoglou’s side finding it hard to break down a well-organised defensive approach from the hosts.
And Mooy expects to confront a similar game-plan on Thursday night, with the onus on the home side to find a way to penetrate the Tajik wall.
“They sit behind the ball a lot and make it very difficult for you to break them down,” said Mooy when asked the type of challenge the Socceroos were preparing for on Thursday night.
“We have to move the ball around fast and tire them out a bit before the gaps start to open.
“We have to take the right mindset from the start. They should start to open up after a while and taking our chances is obviously very important.”
Despite having just 11 caps to his name, Mooy has emerged as one of the Socceroos' most influential players in qualifying and is sure to be a key figure again at Adelaide Oval.
The 25-year-old is in the best form of his career and has been arguably the best player in the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne City this season.
So it’s understandable he’s feeling pretty happy with his game heading into these two high-stakes qualifiers over the next week, including the potentially group defining clash with Harry Redknapp’s Jordan in Sydney.
“The more games you play and are playing well consistently, you get more confident,” Mooy said.
“I’m happy with how I’m going and it’s a great way to be coming into the national team.
“We definitely want to take maximum points from the next two games,” he added.
"We’ve got much more of advantage here at home with our fans behind us.”
Aussies Abroad: EFL Cup wrap
It might be early in the English football calendar but with the English Football League Cup commencing this morning, the season’s first silverware is now on the radar for the 92 participating clubs. Several Australian players were in action during a round one that saw multiple
Joeys squad selected for final training camp in Melbourne
Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan has named a 26-player squad for a training camp in Melbourne next week (13-19 August) as they prepare for the upcoming AFC U16 Championship in Malaysia which will be held later this year. Morgan is looking forward to working with the players agai
Mixed news for Caltex Socceroos duo in Champions League qualifying
Milos Degenek’s Red Star Belgrade are still alive in their bid to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League, but there was heartbreak for Tom Rogic’s Celtic. After a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg, Celtic lost 2-1 against Greek side AEK Athens on Wednesday morning to
Young Socceroos set for kick off in 2018 SBS Cup
A selection of Australia’s finest U18 footballers commence their 2018 SBS Cup campaign in Japan tomorrow evening. Ante Milicic’s side take on the host nation at Fujieda Stadium at 7.30pm kick off (AEST). AUSSIES ABROAD: Maclaren, Vukovic impress in Europe READ: Why Rene