Arnold hits out at referees after ‘horrible’ tackle on Ajdin Hrustic

Julian Miller
By: Julian Miller
28/03/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
Ajdin Hrustic victim of a “horrible” tackle, says Arnold

Hrustic left the field in tears with an ankle injury after a harsh tackle by Lebanon midfielder Ali Tneich. 

News Insights

  • Australia defeated Lebanon 5-0 on Tuesday.
  • Midfielder Ajdin Hrustic went out with an ankle injury.
  • Socceroos boss Graham Arnold criticised the refs for allowing the tackle that injured Hrustic to go unpunished.
  • Hrustic had just returned to the national team after being out for nearly a year.

Australia defeated Lebanon 5-0 in their fourth AFC World Cup Qualifying match of the 2026 World Cup cycle. It was a dominating performance and Australia are undefeated in qualifying, but Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is not happy. He has hit out at the referees following the Lebanon match for not punishing midfielder Ali Tneich more severely for a “horrible” tackle on Aussie playmaker Ajdin Hrustic.

Ajdin Hrustic suffers ankle injury after good game

Australia’s 5-0 win against Australia was overshadowed by a terrible injury suffered by playmaker Ajdin Hrustic in the 51st minute of the match.  
 
Lebanese midfielder Ali Tneich hit the Socceroos star with a raking, studs up tackle. Hrustic was taken off the pitch in tears and Tneich was  immediately given a yellow card.  
 
Earlier in the match, Hrustic had played a key role in Australia’s third goal by assisting Craig Goodwin for his first goal of the match in the 48th minute. This match was Hrustic’s first start for the Socceroos in almost a year, as Graham Arnold had left the player out due to him not playing regularly for his club side Hellas Verona.  
 
Hrustic, who now plays for Dutch side Heracles Almelo, was seen wearing a boot on his ankle after the match. He will go back to the Netherlands for further tests to determine how long he will be out of action for.  

“It was a pretty horrible tackle” 

Graham Arnold took the Australia vs. Lebanon referees to task for the tackle in his post-match comments.  
 
It was a pretty horrible tackle when you look at it back,” the Socceroos boss said. Specifically, Arnold believes Tneich should have gotten a red card and that he would have seen red if there were VAR for this match. “I will say if there was VAR, that’s (a) red,” Arnold said.  
 
Goodwin, who was man of the match, also spoke about the challenge. “It’s really disappointing for him to come off with that injury,” he said, “I don’t particularly think that they were trying to kick people or make things aggressive, but that is something that we encounter on a regular basis in these qualifiers.” 
 
Teams will try to put that physical presence on us because we are one of the top teams in Asia, and if you give us too much time then we can punish you.” 

Australia’s next matches will also be World Cup qualifiers. The Socceroos will face off against Bangladesh on June 6 and versus Palestine on June 11 at HBF Park in Perth. Australia have already qualified for the next round, so Arnold could use these matches to bed in some new players.

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