Five positives from Australian football this week

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From Sam Kerr scoring her first goal for Chelsea to Daniel Arzani playing his first minutes for Celtic in 15 months, there was plenty to be positive about in Australian football.

While there is plenty to critique in Australian football, this weekly column will focus on the positives - from the professional game to the grassroots. 

1. Daniel Arzani returns after 15 months out 

The 21-year-old is Australia's brightest prospect under the age of 23 and has the potential to be a generational talent. 

Arzani missed over 82 games after rupturing his cruciate ligament, but the intelligent winger returned to action this week, coming off the bench in the 85th minute against Partick Thistle. 

The former Melbourne City man managed a few touches in his cameo appearance, but importantly got through unscathed and will likely feature more in the coming weeks. 

Celtic play St. Johnstone away on Thursday morning (AEDT) and Hamilton on Sunday night in the Scottish Premiership.

2. Sam Kerr scores first goal for Chelsea

Sam Kerr has gotten off the mark in the Women's Super League in England with a well-taken far-post header in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Arsenal. 

While it will probably be the first of many, it's also great to see that Kerr is showcasing her all-round game, as Chelsea captain Magda Eriksson explained.

“Sam proved today what an amazing player she is. She’s also an amazing team player, she works so hard for the team defensively, she wins the ball, she’s good in the air, good in behind. She’s good at everything,” Eriksson said.

“She’s come into the team and made a difference, and she really deserved that goal. She’s had a few chances to score, and we all said, ‘save it for Arsenal'."

 

 

Kerr's goal comes in the same week as her Matildas teammate Hayley Raso signing for fellow WSL side Everton. 

Raso is the third Aussie to join the WSL, alongside Kerr and Jacynta Galabadaarachchi at West Ham. 

They are likely to be joined by a fourth, with Caitlin Foord heavily linked with a move to Arsenal where Aussie Joe Montemurro is head coach. 

Also in good news for Australian women's football - Lisa De Vanna scored and assisted in a 6-1 win for Fiorentina in the Women's Serie A. 

3. Olyroos one win away from Olympic qualification 

Australia's under-23 side will face Korea Republic on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (12:15am AEDT kick-off) for a place at Tokyo 2020 and a spot in the final of the AFC U-23 Championship. 

If the Olyroos lose, they will have a second chance to qualify for Tokyo in the third-place-playoff against the loser of Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. 

The performances haven't been entirely convincing, although there have been some standout individuals such as Wellington Phoenix's Reno Piscopo. 

In the quarter-finals, it was the substitutes who made the difference, with Brisbane Roar's Aiden O'Neill delivering a perfect pass in behind the Syrian defence for Adelaide United's Al Hassan Toure who finished expertly. 

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4. Kate Jacewicz becomes first female A-League referee 

Kate Jacewicz received rave reviews after becoming the first woman to ever referee an A-League match. 

The 34-year-old, who has overseen nine W-League grand finals and refereed at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, took charge of Melbourne City's 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets.  

Referees in the A-League are often criticised by fans, players and pundits alike, but Jacewicz received almost universal praise. 

“The occasion was actually quite special for me, and I think for football in general,” Jacewicz said.

Melbourne City midfielder Rostyn Griffiths tweeted out his support for the trailblazer

"I was really impressed with Kate’s performance last night. Hardly noticed her and the major decisions were all correct. Communicated well with players was great to see," Griffiths added.

5. David Zdrilic appointed assistant coach at MLS side Chicago Fire

Australian coaching stocks continue to rise around the world, with former Socceroos striker David Zdrilic being hired by Chicago Fire head coach Raphael Wicky to be his assistant coach. 

Zdrilic spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for Bundesliga club RB Leipzig's U-19 and U-17 teams. 

“It’s an absolute privilege to join the Fire,” Zdrilic said.

“Major League Soccer has always appealed to me and what’s been happening in this league and specifically the Fire has been truly phenomenal. The potential to grow something great with the Fire is huge and I look forward to being a part of it.”

It comes after Ange Postecoglou won the J1 League title with Yokohama F. Marinos and his assistant in that triumph, Peter Cklamovski, was hired by fellow J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse for the upcoming season. 

Other Aussie coaches overseas include Aurelio Vidmar at Home United in Singapore, Mehmet Durakovic at Perak FA in Malaysia, while Kevin Muscat is the technical director at Belgian side Sint-Truidense. 

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Source SBS The World Game