BRISBANE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Australia captain Mile Jedinak returned from injury to lead a revamped Socceroos team for Thursday’s Asian Cup quarter-final against China at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
Jedinak missed Australia’s last two group matches after injuring his ankle in the opening match of the tournament but was passed fit to rejoin his side for the knockout phase.
The inclusion of Jedinak was one of the seven changes Australia coach Ange Postecoglou made to the team that started in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to South Korea.
With centre back Matthew Spiranovic suspended for the match after picking up two yellow cards in the group phase, Postecoglou tightened up the defence by recalling Jason Davidson and Trent Sainsbury.
He also brought back his three key attackers, Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Matthew Leckie, after they all started on the bench for the last game and named midfielder Marco Bresciano in the run-on side for the first time at the tournament.
“We’ll be ready for anything -- normal time, extra-time or penalties or whatever it is,” Postecoglou said. “There’s a game of football to be won and that will be our objective.”
China coach Alain Perrin made four changes to his team that started in Sunday’s 2-1 win over North Korea.
Defender Ren Hang was recalled after sitting out the last match because of suspension while striker Wu Lei was brought back to lead the attack. Wu Xi and Ji Xiang were also recalled to the midfield.
“I’ve been very satisfied with our performances. We won all three games and we deserved the results. If we keep it up I think we will do well,” Perrin said.
“They (Australia) are at home and have quality players like Cahill who are tough and have technical ability. But if our players play with the spirit they have had so far, I think we’re in for a very good result.”
Australia - 1-Mat Ryan; 2-Ivan Franjic, 3-Jason Davidson, 20-Trent Sainsbury, 22-Alex Wilkinson; 23-Marco Bresciano, 21-Massimo Luongo, 15-Mile Jedinak 7-Matthew Leckie, 10-Robbie Kruse; 4-Tim Cahill
China - 23-Wang Dalei; 5-Zhang Linpeng, 2-Ren Hang, 3-Mei Fang; 17-Zhang Chengdong, 15-Wu Xi, 14-Ji Xiang, 10-Zheng Zhi, 8-Cai Huikang, 16-Sun Ke; 7-Wu Lei. (Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)