[Images: Paul Smith]
He thrilled a sold-out Suncorp Stadium during last year’s AFC Asian Cup and Australian footballing legend Tim Cahill added another chapter to his Queensland legacy on Wednesday night.
Cahill’s 64th minute introduction in Melbourne City’s 2-1 Westfield FFA Cup win over Brisbane Strikers was his first domestic appearance in Australia for 19 years.
In front of 3,571 fans at a packed-out Perry Park, Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer added to that bicycle kick in his catalogue of Sunshine State memories.
“This is a big moment for them (Strikers) and it will be remembered for a long time,” Cahill said.
“It’s a mark of history for myself because (after) 19 years it’s my first game back as an Australian player domestically.
“I can mark a nice tick off here in the future when I come back … and look back on it as a great place I’ve played.”
Cahill began life at his new club as a debut winner, with two Bruno Fornaroli penalties erasing Greig Henslee’s opener for the hosts.
While he only played out the final 30 minutes, the Caltex Socceroos talisman just about doubled that effort in signing autographs, posing for selfies and chatting with young players.
“I could have stayed out there much longer but the coach probably would have left without me,” Cahill joked.
“I think this is the importance of coming home: spending time filling out stadiums with the players we’ve got in our team, how big our club is and the respect the Brisbane supporters have shown us.
“This is what football is all about. When you can grow communities and grassroots places like this, make them bigger and raise awareness, that’s what I’m here for.
“This excites me as much as anything.”
— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) August 24, 2016