RHYAN Grant goals are rare and precious and on Tuesday night, the Bathurst District Football graduate scored his maiden goal for Australia against Vietnam.
Played in hot and humid conditions into the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, the Socceroos were struggling to capitalise on their possession until Riley McGree whipped a cross in the box in the 43rd minute, which Grant headed home.
Grant's goal came in just his 14th appearance for his national team, having made his debut for the Socceroos back in 2018.
After the game, Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury said he was happy for Grant to score his maiden goal.
"For him to leave Australia knowing that he's going to have to come back and quarantine for two weeks, it's a sacrifice for your country and that's what it's all about," he said.
"You can't ask more than that and he's got his just rewards. He got a goal, got a win and I'll give him a good slap over the head to congratulate him."
Sainsbury admitted it was an "intense" game.
"We always knew it was going to be difficult coming into the Vietnam game. It was quite intense, the pitch wasn't great, very fluffy," he said.
"We tried to cause some problems, playing the balls over the top in the first half but we didn't really do much in the second half. We kind of put our foot of the gas, you could say.
"[Vietnam] had a couple of half chances through counterattacks but overall, three points away in Vietnam, clean sheet, I'll take that everyday of the week."
Australia bossed possession in the opening stages of the match but their good work was almost undone when Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai lofted the first shot of the night over the bar.
Just minutes later, the Socceroos had the ball in the back of the net, but the linesman's flag was raised because the cross rolled out of play before it was poked home from a goalmouth scramble.
After a lengthy VAR check for a possible Grant handball in the area on the half-hour mark, Australia was able to breathe a sigh of relief as the referee signaled to play on.
A tense start to the second half saw the Socceroos have to cope with Vietnam's advances after they began the brighter of the two sides as they looked to level the score.
Vietnam pushed for an equaliser, but they could not break down a resolute Socceroos defence.
With four minutes of regular time remaining, Australia had the ball in the back of the net once again as Duke cannoned the ball past Van Lam, but the flag was up for offside.
The Sydney FC veteran right back has scored just 12 goals in 240 matches at club level, with his maiden national goal coming in his 15th appearance for the national team.
The Socceroos' next match will be against Oman on October 7, with plans in place for the game to be played at Bankwest Stadium, with players to follow some of the strictest bio-security rules in the world, in order to by-pass 14 days of quarantine.
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