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Injured Huddersfield star Mooy ruled out of Asian Cup

Melbourne (AFP) – Australia’s Asian Cup defence has been dealt a blow with Huddersfield midfielder Aaron Mooy ruled out of the tournament after a second opinion on a knee injury confirmed the worst.

Mooy has been in top form this season, but suffered ligament damage in his right knee playing against Arsenal earlier this month.

Huddersfield initially sidelined him until February, but he is such a key player for Australia that they insisted on getting a second opinion from an independent specialist.

“It is disappointing to lose Aaron for the tournament,” said Socceroos coach Graham Arnold in a statement late Monday.

“However, it was important that we left no stone unturned in exploring every option to get Aaron on the pitch for Australia in the United Arab Emirates.”

Mooy needs at least another month to recover and with the Asian Cup starting on January 5, Arnold decided it wasn’t worth risking him.

“In a best-case scenario, this would mean he would not be ready to play until after the quarter-final stage,” he said.

“With so many games in such a short period we felt it would be best to bring in a player that is fully fit and ready to go from the outset.”

James Jeggo, who plays the Austrian Bundesliga for FK Austria Wien, has been added to the squad as cover.

Australia are in Group B, along with Jordan, Syria and Palestine. They are due to assemble in the UAE from December 26.

Revised squad: Mustafa Amini (AGF Aarhus/DEN) Aziz Behich (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Martin Boyle (Hibernian/SCO), Milos Degenek (Red Star Belgrade/SER), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC/AUS), Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory/AUS), Jackson Irvine (Hull/ENG), Matthew Jurman (Al-Ittihad/KSA), James Jeggo (FK Austria Wien/AUT), Robbie Kruse (Bochum/GER), Mitch Langerak (Nagoya Grampus/JPN), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin/GER), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers/ENG), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland/DEN), Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian/SCO), Mark Milligan (Hibernian/SCO), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds/JPN), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), Tom Rogic (Celtic/SCO),  Mathew Ryan (Brighton/ENG), Trent Sainsbury (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Danny Vukovic (Genk/BEL)

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