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.”
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