SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia football captain Mile Jedinak will miss his country's Asian Cup clash with Oman after injuring an ankle during the 4-1 win over Kuwait, the team said on Sunday.
The Crystal Palace midfielder twisted his left ankle in the first half of Friday's opening game, although he played on, and was seen wearing a protective moonboot brace as he departed Melbourne the following day.
The loss of their talismanic skipper is a blow to Australia ahead of Tuesday's match in Sydney as the tournament hosts seek to qualify from Group A, but coach Ange Postecoglou said the Socceroos could cope with the loss.
"We've decided to rule Mile out of the Oman game after he copped an ankle injury against Kuwait," Postecoglou said in a statement.
"He's not quite right to play, and at this stage of the tournament we are better to give it a few days' extra rest and we will reassess where he's at for the game against Korea Republic."
While Australia should be able to cope without Jedinak against Oman, who were beaten 1-0 by fellow title contenders South Korea on Saturday, Postecoglou will be anxious to have his grizzled skipper back for the tougher challenges ahead.
"While it is not ideal for Mile to miss the game I'm confident we have the players and depth to be able to cover for not having him out there," said the coach.
"We worked hard on increasing our depth over the last six months leading into the Asian Cup and that has us in a good position to be able to cover for the loss of a player of Mile's calibre."
Centre-back Trent Sainsbury also expressed confidence the green and gold had enough cover to adapt.
"We've got enough depth in the squad to still keep moving forward," he said. "Mile will be a big miss, but at the same time his leadership skills don't just end on the pitch."
Sainsbury praised his skipper for battling on after rolling his ankle. "It just shows how tough he is, playing on for the rest of the game with an ankle that looked like it had buckled sideways," he added, with Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano the leading candidates to take over the captain's armband.
Postecoglou has shown he is not afraid to tinker with his line-up and he could be tempted to rotate players to manage the demands of playing three games in nine days.
"The whole team will get used at some point," said striker Nathan Burns, who looked sharp coming off the bench against Kuwait, twice going close to scoring. "It's important that all the players that didn't play in the last game should be ready.
"We need the whole squad to win this tournament. Everyone knows that and we've all got our part to play."