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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will be rubbing his hands together ahead of the Socceroos’ highly anticipated return to the international stage after China-based Aaron Mooy’s stunner on Wednesday.

The Socceroos midfielder, who left Brighton to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG following the Premier League side’s relegation in 2019 on a deal reported to be worth $18 million, scored just after the hour mark in their crunch game against Shangai Shenhua.

Mooy, 30, who made 32 appearances for Brighton before joining the Shanghai-based team, received the ball beyond on half way and advanced it forward.

Then, as he neared the edged of the box, he unleashed a stunning right-foot strike that sailed past the outstretched hands of the goal keeper and into the top left-hand corner.

Mooy, who slipped in the process of kicking, celebrated wildly as he gave his side a 1-0 lead.

“It was a fantastic goal and one that was worthy of winning any game,” Port boss Ivan Leko told reporters. “Mooy has been in good form so far this season but it is unfortunate that we were not able to win the game from a good position and take the three points.”

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Mooy unleashes a rocket! | 00:42

Christian Bassogog however earned a 1-1 draw for Shenhua with a stoppage-time penalty to deny Mooy’s side three straight wins to start the year.

Mooy played down the goal.

“It was good to score but the most important thing is the result,” he said.

“Both teams played very well today,” Mooy added. “They were well-organised and both teams had a number of opportunities. We also had the opportunity to extend our lead and it is frustrating that we did not manage to do that.”

“We have made a good start this season and it is a shame that we did not manage to make it three wins out of three. Now we will regroup and then look to win the next games.”

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Shanghai Youth Daily hailed the strike as “the best goal of the season in what was a game that showed the quality in Chinese football.”

Mooy’s impressive form bodes well for the Socceroos ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.

Arnold and his side navigated through their first four matches of the Asian Football Confederation’s second round with wins against each of their Group B opponents.

Australia currently leads the way in the pool on 12 points, two points ahead of Kuwait and Jordan, with only one team guaranteed a place in the next stage as the runners-up hope they are among four best second-placed teams.

ROAD TO QATAR

Australia v Kuwait

Thursday, 3 June 2021 (4 June AEST)

Venue: Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium

Kick-off: 9.30pm local, 4.30am AEST (Friday morning)

Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports

Nepal v Australia

Monday, 7 June 2021 (8 June AEST)

Venue: Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium

Kick-off: 7.30pm local, 2.30am AEST (Tuesday morning)

Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports

Australia v Chinese Taipei

Friday, 11 June 2021 (12 June AEST)

Venue: Kuwait Sports Club Stadium

Kick-off: 7.30pm local, 2.30am AEST (Saturday morning)

Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports

Australia v Jordan

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 (16 June AEST)

Venue: Kuwait Sports Club Stadium

Kick-off: 9.30pm local, 4.30am AEST (Wednesday morning)

Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports

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