BLAYNEY soccer star Nathan Burns turned in an impressive display, albeit an abbreviated one, as Australia had little trouble seeing off Kyrgyzstan 3-0 in their World Cup qualifier in Canberra on Thursday evening.
Burns was given a good chance of starting the game, but coach Ange Postecoglou opted to keep him on the pine.
Within 20 minutes though, he was into the action after Tomi Juric’s hamstring began to fail him. Burns’ impact was strong thereafter.
He was a constant threat up forward alongside superstar Tim Cahill after the Australians had burned countless half-opportunities and been denied by the woodwork as well as superb Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Pavel Matyash.
Finally, with five minutes to play before the interval, Burns was brought down in the 18-yard box and won his side a penalty, which was duly converted by Mile Jedinak.
The score remained at 1-0 until half-time, but the Jedinak goal seemed to unshackle the home team and ease the nerves.
In the second half they produced plenty of chances once more and this time Cahill converted, before an Aaron Mooy corner was deflected in by a Kyrgyzstan defender for the hosts’ third.
Burns drew praise from his coach, who was happy with his output up until mid-way through the second half when he came from the field with a minor leg injury.
“I started with Tomi [Juric] and Timmy [Cahill] up front because I thought they were going to drop off and we weren’t going to have a lot of space in behind,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports after the game.
“Burnsy came on and made those runs into those little pockets and he asked the question of the defence, which they weren’t prepared for.”
Burns himself isn’t too concerned about his injury and is certain he will be fine for the scheduled match in Bangladesh next week.
“Just a [cork] above the knee. It was getting worse. It should settle down in 24 hours. Should be right,” Burns said.
“Because I was watching the first 20 minutes on the bench, you can see where the other team was lacking a little bit.
“I thought I’d offer runs in behind and a little width and that’s my game, so it just happened to work.”
Burns is enjoying his time with FC Tokyo, securing the move after a brilliant season 2014-15 in the A-League with Wellington Phoenix.
“I love it. It’s a great set-up, great league. It will really push me next year,” Burns said.
“One game left in the season. It’s a very sharp league. The Japanese are really good technical players.
“It’s not an easy league, I can tell you that.
“What I’ve noticed in six months is I’m going to have to work hard to stand out and obviously dominate that league.”