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Socceroos looking forward to home comforts

DEFENDER Matthew Spiranovic said a bumper home crowd at Etihad Stadium is the perfect tonic for the Socceroos frequent flyers after taxing back-to-back road trips.
The Socceroos encountered stifling humidity and 30C-plus temperatures in Abu Dhabi last month and Jeddah on Friday, claiming four of a possible six points against United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabian sides that look genuine contenders for 2018 World Cup qualification.
“We’ve had two tough away games in testing conditions, so we’re really looking forward to getting home now and playing in front of a big crowd,’’ Spiranovic said.
“We’re pretty frustrated after the Saudi game. We showed great character to come back but whenever you’re leading with 10 minutes to play you expect to close out the game so we came off the pitch disappointed.
“We couldn’t take full control of the game for various reasons. A few changes, drinks breaks, whatever it was. We couldn’t take the ascendancy.
“You have to pay credit to Saudi, they were decent and they lifted, but we have to pick ourselves up, move on and look ahead.’’
“The group is open and that’s why every game’s vital.’’
Spiranovic, who’s based in China and has had stints in Qatar and Japan, was composed in defence amid waves of Saudi surges, but he couldn’t keep old nemesis Nasser Al-Shamrani at bay, with the 2014 Asian player of the year netting a late equaliser 26 minutes after coming on.
“It was a bit of a lucky shot, come cross and it went straight to him, so that’s how it goes sometimes,’’ he said.

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