Four Memorable Aussie Moments

Nearly 80,000 fans packed the MCG on Wednesday evening to watch Tottenham Hotspur take on Newcastle United in a post-season friendly.

Subway Socceroo Garang Kuol converted a penalty for Newcastle, while former Head Coach Ange Postecoglou watched on from the dugout of Tottenham.

The match is one in a long list of games played by international giants coming to Australian shores over the decades. The games have seen huge crowds as fans clamour to watch world superstars show off their skills right here, in front of our eyes.

However, it’s not just international players that have captured the attention of the nation. Australian and Australian-based players have often starred, using the games to gain valuable experience in their careers, and in some cases springboard lucrative moves overseas.

Here are four memorable moments when Australians made their mark when the big guns come to town – and a fifth or sixth that is yet to come, when the A-League Men All Stars tackle Newcastle United and the A-League Women All Stars take on Arsenal on Friday night.

2007: LA Galaxy v Sydney FC – Brosque Brace overcomes Becks

Sydney FC legend Alex Brosque’s career was still young when the Los Angeles Galaxy – and David Beckham – came to town.

With Beckham’s star at its height, the match attracted a huge crowd, as 80,000 fans packed into Sydney’s Olympic Stadium to watch the England international in full flight – an Australian record club crowd at the time.

The crowd got what they wanted, a stunning free kick from David Beckham many people’s highlight from the game. However, it was Sydney FC who walked away with bragging rights, 5-3 victors in what turned into a goalfest.

The architect for Sydney? None other than Alex Brosque.

The Subway Socceroo went on to make 21 appearances for Australia, netting five goals.

2010: Everton Tour – Tim Cahill comes home

In preparation for the 2010/11 season, English Premier League stalwarts Everton took on Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart, and Brisbane Roar in a three-game series.

Everton and Subway Socceroos legend Tim Cahill was the star attraction of the series. The attacking midfielder and forward played 226 times for Everton between 2004 and 2012, scoring 56 goals in that time.

He would later return to Australia to play in the A-League Men for Melbourne City.

“It’s fantastic for the A-League and also Everton, because Australia’s got a massive following of Everton supporters,” Cahill said at the time.

Everton would go on to win all three games, including against Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar, in front of big crowds. Cahill played in two of the games before being awarded a break for the third.

2016: International Champions Cup – 16-year-old Pasquali outshines the stars

In a series between Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and Melbourne Victory, there were plenty of international superstars on Australian pitches in mid-2016.

However, it was an unheralded and previously unsigned teenager who stole the show.

16-year-old Sebastian Pasquali scored the decisive penalty as Victory defeated Juventus at the MCG after impressing in his second-half cameo appearance. It didn’t take long before big clubs took notice, the teenager drawing the attention of both Victory’s opponents, and other European clubs.

In the end, Ajax won the race, and signed him in October 2016. He was on their books for three years before returning to the A-League Men with Western United in 2019, where he remains contracted.

“It was a big night for him,” Victory coach Kevin Muscat expressed post-match.

Pasquali has also appeared for the Young Socceroos and the Olyroos.

2022: A-League Men All Stars v Barcelona – Garang dazzles international giants

Garang Kuol had made quite the impact in his first season of A-League Men. The then 17-year-old’s four goals in nine substitute appearances for the Central Coast Mariners was enough to earn selection in the All Stars squad. He took his opportunity with both hands, coming on the pitch and bamboozling the world-class defenders in front of him, coming inches away from scoring a brace.

“That’s sort of what I do,” the youngster said after the game.

“This is my dream from when I was younger. I don’t really look back, I just look forward.”

Kuol made his Subway Socceroos debut just months later, in September 2022, before being named in Australia’s squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022™ in November. He joined Newcastle United in the January 2023 transfer window.

2024: A-League All Stars Double Header – who makes their mark?

The script is yet to be written at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, but one thing is certain – Australians will be front and centre of all of the action.

The Arsenal women’s team has been dubbed ‘Ausenal’ this season, thanks to the inclusion of three CommBank Matildas: Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

They will be taking on an All Stars squad packed to the brim with Australian talent including Cortnee Vine, Michelle Heyman, and 2023/24 Julie Dolan Medallist Sophie Harding.

The women’s game will take place at 8.05pm, after the A League Men All Stars take on Garang Kuol’s Newcastle United at 5.05pm.

All Stars Men coach Patrick Kisnorbo said that this week “represents Australian football.”

Given the success of Wednesday, the anticipation for the All Stars games, and the A-League Men Grand Final on Saturday, it certainly is an exciting week for fans of Australian football.

Match Details

A-League All Stars Men v Newcastle United

Date: Friday, 24 May 2024

Venue: Marvel Stadium

Kick-Off: 5.05pm AEST


A-League All Stars Women v Arsenal

Date: Friday, 24 May 2024

Venue: Marvel Stadium

Kick-Off: 8.05pm AEST


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