Leckie: Fatigue a factor in Saudi fightback

Winger Matthew Leckie has put tiredness down as a factor in Saudi Arabia’s late fightback against the Socceroos.

Australia defeated the Green Falcons 3-2 but endured some difficult periods after Hassan Muath Fallatah pulled a goal back from the penalty spot on 71 minutes and Taiseer Al-Jassam scored on 86 minutes.

The Socceroos had jumped to an early 2-0 lead after just seven minutes through Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak, but were under the pump for large parts of the second half.

“We wanted to control the game and play our football, we did at times,” Leckie said.

“At the end I think a lot of us were tired and it sort of became a battle at the end. Yeah but just happy to get the win I guess.”

Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou agreed tiredness was an issue.

“I thought we really looked underdone physically with this group for a number of reasons, but to be honest they were the only ones we could have picked anyway because most of the others aren’t playing,” Postecoglou said.

“Another three or four weeks of football, regular football, hopefully for this group and some of the other ones as well will be good.”

Postecoglou believes the helter-skelter nature of international friendlies, with the high number of substitutions, also played a role in the changed structure of the match in the second half.

“Friendly games are weird games,” he said.

“When you’re making so many substitutions, the normal circumstances after 70 minutes you’ve got at least eight players from the opposition who’ve been worked hard for 70 minutes and when the game opens up you can still control it.

“When you’re putting on six fresh guys in the last half hour, and we’re doing the same to be fair, the game just becomes a little bit of a lottery.

“We controlled the game for the most part, and we held our composure, but the second half got a little scrappy and it opened up.

“We put some pressure on ourselves and we had to fight hard for something that should have been a bit easier. “