‘This is only the beginning’ – Reds ace Juric promises more after lively return
Adelaide star Tomi Juric showed glimpses of his goal threat against Western United on A-League opening day and insists ‘there’s a lot more to come’.
The 41-cap Socceroo made his return from five years playing in Europe and caused the Green and Black endless problems as the Reds were held to a 0-0 stalemate draw at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.
The Sydneysider spent the past half-decade running out in the Dutch, Swiss and Bulgarian top-flight competitions following spells with Adelaide and Western Sydney Wanderers on home soil.
Juric was tempted back down under in the off-season and the powerful target man proved to be a handful while pulling on a Reds jersey for the first time in seven years on Monday.
“[Head coach] Carl [Veart] just asked me to play my game and do what I’m comfortable doing,” Juric told FOX Sports.
“This is only the beginning. There’s a lot more to come from me. It’s my first game in a very long time.
“This is something I can definitely build on and I’m excited to show what I can do in the future.”
Juric and Ben Halloran came closest to breaking the deadlock in the A-League curtain raiser. Both beat goalkeeper Filip Kurto but saw their shots cleared off the goal-line by Western United defenders.
The 29-year-old was a strong presence leading from the front, combining well with Halloran and teenage debutant Yaya Dukuly as Adelaide controlled 55% of possession and edged the shot count 12 to 10.
“It’s definitely not like quarantine, I can tell you that much,” Juric said when asked about how his legs were feeling.
“I think it was a pretty solid match from both teams. They are very strong defensively and difficult to break down and I think that showed throughout the game, especially in the second half.
“We did have a little bit of joy in the first half. We got in behind a few times and we looked dangerous at times but I don’t think it was enough for us to snag a goal.”
Western United coach Mark Rudan admits both sides deserved a share of the points after defences came out on top in a breathless encounter .
“I think it was probably a fair result at the end of the day,” Rudan said.
“You look at the two keepers and who made the more saves, I’d say their keeper made more point-blank saves than what ours did.
“Our keeper didn’t have a save to make. Perhaps they had more of the territory, more of the ball, but that was part of our game plan as well.”
Rudan revealed Western United are closing on a new Spanish recruit, while he hopes to have Max Burgess back soon but the attacker remains in Sydney following the last COVID-19 outbreak.
With ex-Barcelona midfielder Victor Sanchez only returning to training last week and fellow veteran Besart Berisha missing ‘a couple of weeks’ ahead of the opener, Rudan is expecting to see an improved performance when his side return to action against Melbourne City on Sunday, 17 January.
“We were rusty,” he added. “We didn’t break their first line enough. We weren’t good enough in punching that ball through their lines.
“We’ve been working on it a well, for two weeks actually. We understand how Adelaide shape up and I think with the ball we’ve got to be a lot better.”
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