Hrustic injured in Australia’s 5-0 thrashing of Lebanon

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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold says Lebanese midfielder Ali Tneich should have been sent off for his “horrible” tackle on Ajdin Hrujstic that left the playmaker in tears as he was helped off the field with an ankle injury in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Hrustic’s injury was the low point of an other impressive night for the Socceroos, who thrashed the Cedars 5-0 at GIO Stadium.

Attacking weapon Craig Goodwin was superb in scoring a brace, while strikers Kusini Yengi and John Iredale each netted their first goal for the Socceroos as Australia sealed its spot in the next of round of AFC qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

However, Hrustic’s injury somewhat marred the occasion.

Having come off the bench in last week’s 2-0 win over Lebanon after missing the Socceroos’ previous 11 matches because of a lack of football at club level, Hrustic was a starter on Tuesday night, with his creative skills evident in his assist for Goodwin’s first goal of night in the 48th minute.

But soon after, he was left reeling after falling victim to a studs up tackle from Tneich that caught the inside of his ankle.

Arnold consoled a teary Hrustic as he was assisted from the ground and replaced by debutant Patrick Yazbek.

Tneich was only shown a yellow card for the tackle, but had the VAR system in operation, Arnold was adamant the punishment would have been upgraded to a send off.

“I will say if there was VAR that was (a) red (card),” the Socceroos coach said.

“It was a pretty horrible tackle when you look at it back.”

In terms of the severity of the injury, Arnold said it was a “good sign” that Hrustic was “hobbling around” in the dressing-room.

Goodwin was hopeful Hrustic’s injury wasn’t “too bad”.

“It’s really disappointing for him to come off with that injury,” the man-of-the-match said.

“I don’t particularly think that they were trying to kick people or make things aggressive, but that is something that we encounter on a regular basis in these qualifiers.

“Teams will try to put that physical presence on us because we are one of the top teams in Asia, and it you give us too much time then we can punish you.”
Goodwin certainly “punished” Lebanon with a brilliant display – that also included an assist for Yengi’s second-minute goal – in his return to the team after missing last week’s win because of a virus.

“It was a really good night for myself and for us as a team to put in a decent performance and contribute to a lot of goals,” the former Adelaide United captain said.

“When these (international) windows come up I want to be involved in every single game and play as much as I can. so to miss that one (last Thursday) was a little bit hard to take, but I was really happy I could make up for it tonight.”

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