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Boot Room

Kewell makes it two in two games

Harry Kewell has hit the back of the net for the second straight match for Galatasaray in a heartening sign before Australia's Asian Cup campaign next month in Qatar.

He opened the scoring with a header in the 27th minute as the Istanbul side notched up a 3-0 win at Kasimpasa in the Turkish top-flight on the weekend.

Kewell has been steadily building up to full fitness following his latest injury and the prospect of the quality left-footer being fit and in form will be welcome news for Socceroos coach Holger Osieck.

The return of Kewell and Josh Kennedy to the squad next month provides some added attacking spark to the national side with the likes of Tim Cahill, Brett Holman and Brett Emerton all in good touch in front of goals.

In Zurich last week, Socceroos captain Lucas Neill called on his teammates to dish out some payback in Qatar after the Gulf state comfortably won the race to host the 2022 World Cup ahead of a humbled Australia.

Osieck spent time visiting Australia's players in Turkey before last month's 3-0 belting by African champions Egypt in Cairo.

The German allowed Kewell to skip the final warm-up match at the Cairo International Stadium to ensure the former Liverpool and Leeds player had the smoothest return from injury possible.

The good news for the Australian side that was humbled in Cairo was it is unlikely to meet a team of the same quality in the Asian Cup.

Kewell, 32, started for the third straight game and was substituted in the 76th minute after goals to Juan Pablo Pino (44th minute) and Hakan Kadir Balta (72nd minute) wrapped up the result.

Australia's Asian Cup squad is due to assemble early in the New Year in Abu Dhabi for a friendly against the United Arab Emirates on January 5.

The Socceroos then make the short trip to Doha for the Asian Cup.

Australia open their Asian Cup campaign with group matches against India (January 10), South Korea (January 14) and Bahrain (January 18).


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