February 1, 2015 – 1:21AM
The striker whose extraordinary solo effort produced the chance to win the Asian Cup for Australia, Tomi Juric, says he didn’t have time to think through the inspired moment that ultimately led to James Troisi’s match-winning goal in extra-time.
With the match locked at 1-1 deep in the first additional period, the Koreans seemingly had the momentum after scoring a dramatic injury-time equaliser through Son Heung-min, cancelling out the goal that first looked to hand Australia the title – a splendid long-range effort from Massimo Luongo.
But Juric, who came on as a substitute just after the hour mark for Tim Cahill, produced an effort that summed up the indefatigable efforts of the Socceroos.
Fouled but not beaten: Tomi Juric of Australia moments before setting up the winning goal. Photo: Getty Images
Seemingly having lost the ball against Korea’s outstanding left-back Kim Jin-su, Juric battled to keep possession, almost wrestling with Kim – who appeared to foul Juric at least once and possibly twice – but Juric refused to lose his feet.
He somehow wriggled free of Kim’s clutches to keep the ball alive and in play before cutting the ball back for Troisi to score the goal that secured the win.
But Juric said it happened so quickly that he just acted on instinct to graft from nothing the chance that decided the trophy.
“I didn’t think, my body just did [it]. It’s hard to explain, I don’t know what happened. It was just intuitive. Autopilot. Instinct,” he said after the match. “In the moment, my body took over and I did what I needed to do and we ended up knocking in a goal from there.”
Juric said it was “by far” the greatest moment of his career so far – before adding it was on par with another recent moment while in the colours of his club side, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
“That and scoring the goal to win the trophy of the Asian Champions League,” he said. “They’re the two best things in my career.”
The Socceroos entered the tournament as second favourites but many questioned whether they would have the class to see off a team of Japan or South Korea’s quality in the knockout stages – particularly after the Koreans claimed the Socceroos’ scalp with a 1-0 group stage win in Brisbane.
However, Juric said this title had proven the Socceroos’ credentials beyond doubt.
“I’m sure there are no doubters now, as there were through the tournament. We’re all ecstatic and really happy about it,” he said. “We had a massive belief in ourselves and getting to the goal that we set ourselves at the beginning, which was to hold the big one up.”
Source : The Canberra Times