Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic has applauded the efforts of the Melbourne crowd in helping Australia fight back to defeat Kuwait in the Asian Cup.
The Socceroos were stunned early when Kuwait opened the scoring after just eight minutes on Friday night.
But the hosts clawed their way back into the game, goals to Tim Cahill and Massimo Luongo putting Australia ahead at half-time and then Mile Jedinak and James Troisi putting the result behind doubt.
Kuwait’s goal by Hussain Fadhel came from a defensive mix-up by the Socceroos, which Franjic admitted was disappointing.
“It was disappointing to concede early, especially on a set-piece,” the Torpedo Moscow right-back told FourFourTwo.
“We’d worked so hard on it during the week, disappointing. But we got two goals before half-time and the crowd really helped us.”
A crowd of 25,231 was hand for the opening match of the Asian Cup at AAMI Park.
Franjic was involved in Australia’s first goal, a quick throw-in releasing Luongo who found Cahill free in the box.
The full-back beat his man and crossed the ball for Luongo’s goal, the Socceroos’ second, and was busy throughout the 90 minutes in an industrious display.
A Meadow Park Eagles, St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights junior, Franjic relished the opportunity to play in his home town for the national team.
“It was something special,” the former Brisbane Roar star said.
“It was a childhood dream to play in Melbourne in front of family and friends. It’s something I’ve accomplished and I’m very happy. But the focus of the Socceroos is all about the team and how we get ready for the next game.”
Australia next take on Oman in Sydney on January 13.
To top the group the Socceroos will likely need to defeat the Omanis before a crunch final Group A game against South Korea in Brisbane.
Franjic believes Australia can get better.
“There’s definite room for improvement and we don’t want to peak too early,” the 27-year old said.
“To score four goals is a great starting point and we can only build on that platform.”comments