Australia beat Ecuador 3-1 in Parramatta

The only disappointment was the turnout, with a relatively poor crowd of 20,668 on hand at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta – a bit of a letdown, given how captivated the country seemed to be by this team not so long ago.

On the field, the Socceroos picked up pretty much where they left off in Doha – they were energetic from the outset, and more aggressive in the press, albeit a little more open defensively than Arnold would have liked at times.

The Socceroos celebrate Jackson Irvine’s goal.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s got to be the mentality when you play at home and obviously, coming off the back of what we did a few months ago, everybody wanted to come out and show that aggressiveness from the beginning,” Irvine said.

The usual suspects impressed: Craig Goodwin’s delivery from wide areas was sublime again, Irvine wore the captain’s armband and excelled as a more advanced midfielder, while Mitch Duke reprised his all-action role up front, and even added a few new tricks to his repertoire, including one dazzling over-the-head flick pass that nearly led to a goal in the first-half.

Both were involved in the lead-up to Australia’s opener in the 13th minute, as Goodwin’s dead ball into the box was cut back across the face of goal by a lunging Duke, setting Irvine up perfectly to score. Replays showed Duke was clearly offside, but with no VAR deployed for this friendly, the goal stood.


Playing under new coach Felix Sanchez for the first time, Ecuador struck back 10 minutes later, when Felix Torres nodded home a hopeful cross from Brighton and Hove Albion’s Jeremy Sarmiento, who was recycling a poorly cleared free kick.

They had other chances to punish a stretched Australian defence, but didn’t take them – and then gave away a second to the Socceroos just after the half-hour mark, when Irvine and Mabil squeezed Piero Hincapie inside their attacking penalty box, forcing a turnover. Mabil smacked the resultant loose ball with venom, rocketing it into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

“There’s nothing more satisfying, sometimes, than scoring a goal from a high press in that kind of moment,” Irvine said.

Kuol, like Duke for his goal, appeared to be offside when he bundled over Aziz Behich’s ball from the left with six minutes to go – and as such, with two goals against them unfairly awarded, the final score was maybe abit stiff on Ecuador.

They will have a chance to get square in Tuesday night’s rematch in Melbourne, where 17-year-old Nestory Irankunda – who was an unused substitute – is a strong chance to make his highly anticipated debut, which would make him the youngest Socceroo ever.

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