Qantas Young Socceroos too strong for Thailand (13 September 2006 )
The Qantas Young Socceroos kicked off their four-nation tournament in Malaysia, with a solid 3-0 win over Thailand on Wednesday night.
A goal credited to Bruce Djite after just 35 seconds got Australia off to the perfect start and after being held by the determined Thais, the young Australians finished strongly with two late goals from James Downey and Nathan Burns.
The tournament is part of the teams preparation for the AFC Youth Championships in India late next month, with Thailand one of the Qantas Young Socceroos opponents.
The match could not have got off to a better start for Australia in the hot and humid conditions in Kuantan, as they attacked from the kick-off and a low hard cross from the right, was deflected goalwards by a Thai player and slightly brushed Djite as it went in.
Thailand could have leveled it after 35 minutes when they burst into the box, with the shot beating Mitchell Langerak in goal, but not the post.
On 61 minutes, Matt Spiranovic had a good chance to extend Australia’s lead, but he headed Evan Berger’s corner kick wide.
The game was put out of Thailand’s reach in the 79th minute, as James Downey went on a solo run from halfway, with his shot proving too powerful for the keeper.
Adelaide United striker Nathan Burns made the scoreline even more convincing in injury time, when he needed two attempts to finally score, after his initial penalty kick was saved, but rebounded straight back to him and he made no mistake a second time. Troy Hearfield was fouled in the box.
Qantas Young Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was obviously happy with the good start, especially as they will face the Thais in India.
“It was a good start, especially as we will face Thailand in India at the AFC Youth Championships,” Postecoglou said. “However we are looking to build on that for the second game.”
“The conditions here are very similar to what it will be like in India next month, so that should give them a lot confidence going into the next two games.”
Australia play Malaysia in two days time, followed by Vietnam.
Australia 3 (Bruce Djite 1’, James Downey 79’, Nathan Burns 90’+)
Australian line-up: Mitchell Langerak (gk), Steve O’Dor, Matt Spiranovic, Peter Eleftherakis, James Downey, Oliver Bozanic (Evan Berger 55’), Shaun Ontong, Chris Grossman, Bruce Djite (Dario Vidosic 64’), Nathan Burns, Robbie Kruse (Troy Hearfield 81’)
Cautions: Grossman (71’), Hearfield (87’), Spiranovic (90’)