Jamie Maclaren suffers as goal-shy Australia humbled by Jordan in Asian Cup
Australia started their Asian Cup title defence in their worst possible way with a shock 1-0 defeat to Jordan on Sunday.
There were very few redeeming features in the Socceroos' performance as they played right into the hands of their opponents. Complete domination of possession meant little as Australia played sideways and backwards passes, allowing Jordan to sit back and defend comfortably. There were a couple of chances created by relative newcomer to the international scene, Awer Mabil, and fans in Australia will hope that is a sign of things to come as the search for a goalscorer continues.
A poor start cost Australia, who looked a disjointed side in the opening 45 minutes. It was perhaps understandable, given the number of injuries which have kept key players out of the squad, but the overall intensity was simply too low at an international tournament such as this.
That lethargy took a good hour or so to break free from, by which time the Socceroos were down a goal and up against a Jordan side who could sense an upset.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Graham Arnold promised a smothering approach in the first competitive fixture under his tenure, but there was little evidence of that in the first half. He responded with a change at the half, bringing on Rhyan Grant for Josh Risdon, which did help Australia play further up the pitch. But the lack of composure to start the match allied with a penchant to get the ball wide to swing in crosses -- when Australia's central striker Jamie Maclaren was arguably the shortest player on the pitch -- means there is plenty to work on .
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Mat Ryan, 7 -- Produced a wonderful diving save from a Bahaa Abdulrahman free kick in the first half to keep Australia in the contest.
DF Aziz Behich, 6 -- Looked lively as ever down the left and created an excellent opportunity for Tom Rogic in the second half but couldn't inspire Australia to victory.
DF Milos Degenek, 6 -- A solid performance in central defence from Degenek, who has found his place alongside Trent Sainsbury in the starting XI.
DF Trent Sainsbury, 6 -- Gave away an unnecessary free kick in a dangerous area not long after Jordan scored, which heaped pressure on the Socceroos. Composed himself in the second half and even started to push forward to contribute to the attack.
DF Josh Risdon, 5 -- Hooked at half time, though he didn't appear to be the Socceroos' worst offender in a sluggish opening 45 minutes.
MF Mark Milligan, 6 -- A stabilising force in midfield, Milligan helped settle the nerves of a few newcomers, but by that stage it was too late.
MF Massimo Luongo, 5 -- Poor marking from a corner opened the door for Jordan's opener. Luongo was well below his best in defence and attack before being replaced by Jackson Irvine after 75 minutes.
MF Tom Rogic, 5 -- Cut a frustrated figure throughout the contest and really lacked the sort of involvement needed, particularly with the absence of Aaron Mooy in central midfield.
MF Robbie Kruse, 5 -- A very quiet performance from Kruse, who needed to provide some leadership to an inexperienced attack. Kruse was replaced after 54 minutes and may struggle to get back into the starting XI for the upcoming group games against Palestine and Syria.
MF Awer Mabil, 7 -- Always seemed the most likely source of a goal for the Socceroos, Mabil hit the post and forced a brilliant save from Amer Shafi in a solid performance.
FW Jamie Maclaren, 5 -- After getting his chance when a groin injury forced the late withdrawal of Andrew Nabbout, Maclaren sadly had little impact in general play, though he did have a goal ruled out for offside.
FW Chris Ikonomidis, 6 -- Did his best to take on defenders and provide some movement off the ball but couldn't create much in limited space.
DF Rhyan Grant, 6 -- Pushed high up the pitch after coming on at half time, helping Australia to dominate possession and field position throughout the second half.
MF Jackson Irvine, N/A -- On too late to make an impact.