Australia have come up short in their second friendly clash against Ecuador going down 2-1, though it wasn’t for a lack of trying on Brandon Borrello and Joe Gauci’s part.
Having been named in the starting line-up, Borrello wasted little time to put his stamp on the game, involved in everything going forward, he’d get reward for effort and score his first goal for his country inside the opening 20 minutes.
It’d be a case of right place at the right time, after teammate Craig Goodwin’s shot struck the post, he’d pounce on the rebound and slot through the opener for the Aussies. He’d continue to be a threat throughout the night before being subbed out in the 66th minute making way for Jason Cummings.
Minutes later the Socceroos would go close to doubling their advantage, Goodwin perfectly teeing up Connor Metcalfe unmarked on the right hand side of the box but would scuff his short, the ball floating over the crossbar.
Their South-American opponents would eventually find their groove with Kevin Rodriguez and Pervis Estupinán causing headaches and doing their best to try and get their side level before the break.
They’d be unable to find the net, with shot-stopper Joe Gauci making several saves, coming up with four saves in the opening half to ensure the Aussies held a 1-0 lead at half time.
Ecuador would then pick right up from where they left off in the second half and would equalise inside the opening 10 minutes, Estupinán stepping up from the penalty spot to score the leveller they’d been pushing for and his side would take control of the game thereafter.
They’d later reverse the deficit with a defensive error from Australia allowing defender William Pacho an unmarked run at the ball at the near post.
The Socceroos would be unable to answer back as they did on Friday night and would eventually go down 2-1. Though despite being on the losing end, there’d still be plenty of positives coming out of the game for Graham Arnold’s men.
GAUCI THE HEIR TO GOALKEEPING THRONE
Joe Gauci got the nod to start in game two and was stellar in between the sticks, the Adelaide United academy graduate putting in a brilliant showing and continues to go from strength to strength.
Having been impressive for the Reds at club level this season to earn a call-up to the national team, the 22-year-old’s club form translated to the international stage, looking comfortable in goal and not seeming to be phased by the pressure put on him by an impressive Ecuadorian attack, coming up on several occasions to make an important save.
Making six saves for the game, Gauci made a great first impression and with Matt Ryan now entering the back end of his career, the Socceroos look to have found their next number one.
FRESH FACES MAKE THEIR MARK
Having often selected largely the same squad for the past 12-18 months, Graham Arnold added some new blood to the squad, and while the side may have not have gotten the result they’d have wanted in game two, there’s a lot to like about the new faces which got a run.
The aforementioned Gauci was impressive between the sticks and had a debut to remember. Fellow South Australian Borrello was dangerous up forward, proving he’s capable of playing up top, having an impact and scoring his first goal at international level. Having been left out of squad for several years, he looks to now asserted himself back into the Socceroos set-up. Jordan Bos made his first appearance and showed good signs in his cameo appearance having come on in the 54th minute.
With the Asia Cup kicking off in the coming months, Graham Arnold will be pleased with the amount of talent he’s got at his disposal with the depth of the squad having not looked better since 2006.
A FRIENDLY BY NAME ONLY
Though they weren’t playing for points, both sides looked to assert themselves on the contest with the game being as feisty as it was entertaining.
The game would finish with 23 fouls, with Ecuador being the more aggressive of the two sides giving away 16 fouls to the Socceroos’ seven.
Cameron Devlin copped a knee to the head from William Pacho which left the midfielder with a nasty gash to his head leaving the Socceroos down to 10 men while he was getting stitched up.
There’d be three players from Ecuador would end up being booked on the night with Estupinán, Xavier Arreaga and Moisés Caicedo all getting yellow-carded.
Though they played with flare, they would be equally aggressive, physically asserting themselves to ensure they came away with the win.