Harry Souttar the hero and villain as Socceroos let two-goal lead slip in draw with Mexico

10 September 2023 05:02
Australia 2-2 MexicoSocceroo Harry Souttar scores opening goal but makes late mistakeWith a sudden burst of intent that belied his two-metre frame, Harry Souttar darted in front of Johan Vásquez to meet Martin Boyle’s corner with a glancing header. Guillermo Ochoa was able to do little more than watch as the ball flew across his body and nestled itself into the bottom corner of the net. Sixteen minutes in at Cowboys Stadium in Texas and Australia led Mexico 1-0.Flash forward to the 83rd minute, with the Socceroos looking to hold onto a 2-1 lead against an El Tri onslaught, and a long-ball forward sat up for Souttar on the edge of his penalty area. It appeared a simple clearance but, inexplicably, Souttar opted to duck. Whether it was miscommunication or an error in judgement is unclear but it seemed to be the action of a defender expecting his goalkeeper to storm forward and claim the ball. Instead, it was substitute Cesar Huerta who was lurking. As Mat Ryan stayed put, Huerta blasted it home to erase what had been a two-goal deficit and secure Mexico a 2-2 draw.Souttar had gone into this international window under a cloud. He was seemingly not in the plans of Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca since the coach’s arrival and the Foxes’ relegation from the Premier League. Souttar hadn’t featured in a competitive club fixture since May 22. Famously loyal to his core players, Australia coach Graham Arnold had given him a vote of confidence and called him up anyway, challenging Souttar to prove why he deserved to feature at the King Power Stadium.The coach was rewarded for his faith with Souttar’s opening goal, and for long periods of the game, a reassured defensive performance. But in one deferred clearance, the error of a player severely lacking in match minutes and sharpness, all that good work was undone. Whether Maresca was watching is unknown.The sense of assuredness from that opening goal that had allowed the Australians to play to their counter-attacking strengths was gone too. Instead, they battened down the hatches under a fast-finishing Mexican storm. Continue reading......read full article

Source: TheGuardian