Sainsbury set for hometown return with the Socceroos

The Socceroos' September FIFA World Cup qualifier in Perth will be the first time the senior national side will have played in the WA capital for over ten years.

When the men in Green and Gold last came to town, in March 2005, a talented local footballer called Trent Sainsbury was 13-years of age. 

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We’re not sure if the then Armadale junior and now Socceroos and PEC Zwolle star was one of the 13,719 at Subiaco Oval that night, but he would have witnessed a good night for the home side.

The opponents were Indonesia, in a match organized to raise money for victims of the previous year’s Boxing Day Tsunami.

In an emotional start to the contest there was a minute’s silence in tribute to the lives lost, while the players donated their match fees to the fundraiser.

Having played Iraq in a friendly just three days earlier, coach Frank Farina opted to rest stars like Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Mark Schwarzer from the clash.

Instead it was a host of local-based players that were given an opportunity to impress, such as current Socceroo assistant coach Ante Milicic, Jon McKain and Simon Colosimo.

After a slow start by the Aussies they finally clicked into gear midway through the first-half and scored the opener with their first meaningful shot on goal.

Stan Lazaridis surged forward down the left wing and his pin-point cross was glanced in by Milicic at the near post.

A simple move but a text-book goal.

Brett Emerton flies high to win the ball against Indonesia in Perth in 2005.

The Aussies extended their lead 12 minutes into the second half when Milicic capped a memorable day with his second.

Crystal Palace defender Tony Popovic headed a corner down to the striker, who got a slight touch on it to divert it past Hendro Kartiko in Indonesia’s goal.

The icing on the cake for the Socceroos came five minutes from the end as two substitutes combined for a deserved third.

Winger Ahmed Elrich drove towards goal before passing to David Zdrillic, who had time to turn in the six-yard box before slamming it home.

Western Australian football fans are counting down the days until they get to see the Socceroos in action in a Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh.

Perth fans will be hoping for a similar result in September when Ange Postecoglou’s side step up their push to qualify for a fourth consecutive World Cup.

And it’s set to be a special night for Sainsbury as the green and gold come to town. If the 23-year-old gets on the pitch, it'll be a moment to remember for Australia's new defensive star. 

And who knows, in the crowd at nib Stadium just might be another future Socceroo?

Socceroos vs Bangladesh

Thursday 3 September, 2015

nib Stadium

Kick Off 7.00pm

Gates Open 5.30pm

Tickets on sale to Football Family members from Wednesday 15 April 9am (AWST) until Thursday 16 April 11am (AWST). General public on sale Thursday 16 April 12pm (AWST).

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