Australia's Massimo Luongo, left, duels for the ball with Colombia's Johan Mojica
Australia's Massimo Luongo, left, duels for the ball with Colombia's Johan Mojica

Socceroos’ man of the moment hailed after latest goal

SOCCEROOS midfielder Massimo Luongo has capped a big week with a goal in Queens Park Rangers' 4-1 win over Norwich in the Championship.

Ryan Manning put the ball through his own net and then made amends with QPR's fourth goal as the west Londoners triumphed at Loftus Road.

Luongo levelled things up after Manning's own goal, weaving the ball past Canaries goalkeeper Angus Gunn despite the attention of several Norwich defenders following a well-worked move. It was the Australian's fourth goal in seven matches.

Matt Smith and Eberechi Eze were all also on target for the hosts, who fell behind thanks to Manning's own goal before taking full control.

Luongo, who starred for Australia in last week's scoreless draw with Colombia at nearby Craven Cottage, also picked up a yellow card on Monday with the scores at 0-0.

Colombia's James Rodriguez, front, and Australia's Andrew Nabbout
Colombia's James Rodriguez, front, and Australia's Andrew Nabbout

"I thought the lads showed terrific skill and mentality to score as early as we did. It was a fantastic goal - a couple of little one-twos," manager Ian Holloway said.

"I gave Mass a rest the other day but we look fantastic when he's in there in that form. He's starting to get prolific."

In Monday's late fixture an extra-time equaliser from Anthony Pilkington earned second-placed Cardiff a 1-1 draw at Sheffield United. The Bluebirds host leaders Wolves in a Friday night blockbuster.

Elsewhere, Britt Assombalonga's first goal in 14 matches rescued Middlesbrough a point at Championship basement boys Burton Albion.

Striker Assombalonga's first goal since Boxing Day salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw for Middlesbrough that denied the hosts a priceless win in their bid to avoid the drop.

Marvin Sordell's first goal in 19 matches looked to have sealed a vital win for Burton, only for Assombalonga to level in the 90th minute.

Middlesbrough's late equaliser kept Burton bottom of the table, but Albion were able to draw level on points with Sunderland, who lost out 3-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

Australian Bailey Wright's Bristol City missed out on the chance to jump ahead of Middlesbrough and into the play-off berths, with substitute Neal Maupay's late strike stealing Brentford a 1-0 win on the road.

Martyn Waghorn hit two goals in as many minutes as Ipswich drew 2-2 at home with Millwall, who had Jake Cooper and George Saville on target. Socceroos talisman Tim Cahill was again an unused substitute for the Lions.

Tom Lawrence fired a free-kick to guide Derby to a 1-0 win over Preston, as the Rams ended an eight-game winless streak.

Nottingham Forest's home clash with Barnsley was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Meanwhile, Andrew Nabbout has played just 20 minutes at Urawa Red Diamonds since joining from the Newcastle Jets last month, but the manager who signed him has already been sacked.

Takashi Hori got the boot after just five games of the J-League season, after going winless and taking two points from the fixtures. Urawa sit 17th in Japan's top tier, and now Nabbout's situation at his new club could become shrouded in uncertainty.

Colombia's James Rodriguez, front, and Australia's Andrew Nabbout
Colombia's James Rodriguez, front, and Australia's Andrew Nabbout

As the attacker is acutely aware, thanks to the current scenario regarding the Socceroos, with a new manager comes a new chance to impress - and a new potential chance for exclusion.

The former Jet has been the beneficiary of Bert van Marwijk's appointment to the helm of the national team, earning his first call-up and debut last week for friendlies against Norway and Colombia.

But as a new regime takes over at Urawa, his position at the club could change.

The striker made his debut for the reigning Asian Champions League winners in their J-League clash with Jubilo Iwata on Sunday (AEST), coming off the bench for in the 70th minute to replace Kosuke Naketomi.

The Red Diamonds went down 2-1 in the clash, and severed ties with their manager immediately after.

MACLAREN AND ROGIC ON TARGET IN SCOTLAND

Scotland based Socceroos Jamie Maclaren and Tom Rogic enjoyed a good Easter weekend, both finding the net in the Scottish Premiership.

Maclaren found the net in the 71st minute for Hibernian against Partick Thistle as his side ran out 2-0 winners.

Meanwhile, Rogic utilised his quick feet and finishing ability to net a stunner for Celtic in a 3-0 win over cellar dwellers Ross County.

Celtic are now 12 points clear of second placed Rangers atop the league.



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