Watch: Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi continues incredible 12 months with goal for Australia v Bangladesh

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The Pompey striker helped the Socceroos beat Bangladesh 2-0 in Dhaka

Kusini Yengi continued his incredible year with a goal for Australia in the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying win against Bangladesh on Thursday.

The Pompey striker sealed victory for Graham Arnold’s side with a 62nd-minute back-post header in Dhaka to maintain his country’s unbeaten record in Group I of the Asian qualifiers. Australia top their group with one game remaining against second-placed Palestine, who are eight points adrift of the summit.

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The goal, following a cross from Jordy Boss, was Yengi’s second for the Socceroos in seven international appearances. It was also the second successive game that the striker had scored for the team.

Yengi has one more game - against Palestine in Perth on Tuesday - to wrap up an unbelievable 12 months since his move to Fratton Park was confirmed.

Signed from Western Sydney Wanderers on July 1, 2023, for an undisclosed fee, Yengi was a relative unknown in his home country and definitely in the UK. However, that soon changed as the 25-year-old marked his Pompey debut in the season-opener against Bristol Rovers with a 90th-minute equaliser - just minutes after being introduced to the action as a substitute.

The powerful front man then proceeded to score four more times over his next four appearances, quickly establishing himself as a darling of the Fratton faithful, before giving Bolton defender Ricardo Santos - who is regarded one the best defenders in League One - a lesson or two in the Blues’ televised game against Wanderers at Fratton Park.

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Seven more important goals were to follow as Yengi also made himself a key member of the Pompey squad that secured the third-tier crown and promotion back to the Championship. That form also earned him the first of his Australia caps, with Yengi bagging his first international goal for the Socceroos in their 5-0 win against Lebanon in March. He’s also started each of his country’s past four games.

It’s certainly been a breakthrough year to remember for the popular Fratton Park figure. And Pompey supporters will hope it’s a platform that will propel him to even higher levels as they look forward with excitement to their Championship return.

Blues fans have not heard much from Yengi since the season finished. He didn’t go on the team’s post-season trip to Las Vegas, with an update  on Instagram showing him visiting Uganda and South Sudan - where his father is from - instead.

Before jetting off, though, he spoke on his first season in England and revealed  his ambitions with the Blues went beyond the Championship.

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Speaking to The News, Yengi said: ‘I love this club and it’s been an amazing season.

‘Everyone’s welcomed me in so well, and I think I can still learn a lot and improve as a player.

‘Playing in the Championship next season is something I’m really looking forward to. Championship player sounds good - but Premier League would be even better. We’ll go for it next year!’

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