Throwback Thursday: Luongo shines against Kuwait in AFC Asian Cup 2015

Graham Arnold's new era gets underway when the Caltex Socceroos visit Kuwait for an important friendly on October 15.

The match will bring back precious memories for the squad members present at the last meeting with the Western Asian nation.

On that occasion, in front of a full house at AAMI Park, Australia laid the groundwork for AFC Asian Cup 2015 glory with a stirring come-from-behind 4-1 victory.

We've wound the clock back to that January night to relive an unforgettable game, and one special individual performance.

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Surprise team selection

AFC Asian Cup 2015 was full of twists before a ball even was kicked.

Ange Postecoglou caught many off guard by including three players with fewer than eight senior caps in his starting XI.

Aziz Behich got the nod at left-back ahead of FIFA World Cup™ participant Jason Davidson, while James Troisi edged out Mark Milligan and Matt McKay for a place in midfield.

Partnering him was Massimo Luongo, the little-known Swindon Town man chosen for his first international appearance on home soil ahead of Mark Bresciano.

It paid off handsomely, but not before an early setback.

Socceroos

New hero emerges

The biggest shock came just eight minutes into the match.

Kuwait clearly hadn't read the script as, from a fizzing corner to the near post, Hussain Fadhel headed the underdogs into the lead.

One of the grandest occasions in Australian footballing history was threatening to unravel.

Enter Luongo. The 22-year-old wriggled to the byline in the 33rd minute and squared for Tim Cahill to smash home the equaliser.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, the Caltex Socceroos' newest star opened his account in a moment he later described as a "dream come true".

Ivan Franjic crossed from the right, Luongo craned his neck and AAMI Park was alive.

Massimo Luongo

Finishing with a flourish

Buoyed by Luongo's heroics, Australia took command in the second half.

Inspirational skipper Mile Jedinak all but made sure of the result with a typically cool penalty just beyond the hour, Robbie Kruse having been tripped in the box by Sultan Al Enezi.

Postecoglou called Tomi Juric, Nathan Burns and Bresciano off the bench and there was still time for the energetic Troisi to rifle in a fourth in stoppage time.

It was a superb response to the early adversity, ensuring the Caltex Socceroos left Melbourne with a feel-good factor that lasted right throughout the tournament.

Luongo continued to star on the way to the ultimate triumph in Sydney three weeks later, picking up the Most Valuable Player award for his efforts along with a spot on the Ballon d'Or longlist.

The 2015 victory over Kuwait will be remembered as setting the platform for success, something Arnold and his charges will hope proves true of the October clash.