Australia off to smashing start at the AYOF

Australia have begun their Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) with an emphatic 7-1 victory over China in Sydney this evening.

Australia have begun their Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) with an emphatic 7-1 victory over China in Sydney this evening.

Following the late withdrawal of Kofi Danning and Rhyan Grant, Queenslander Josh McVey and Western Australian Cameron Edwards were drafted into the Australian National Youth Olympic Team squad and Daniel Bowles was handed the captain-s armband for the opening match of the tournament.

In hot and humid conditions, Australia got off to the perfect start when winger James Virgili opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with his team-s first shot of the match. Virgili managed to break through the middle of the Chinese defence and slide his shot past the advancing Chinese goalkeeper Wang Qi to take an early lead.

Mitchell Bevan doubled Australia-s advantage in the 41st minute with a well-taken strike from outside the box and Steven Lustica added a third goal just before the half-time whistle when he was on hand to capitalise on a James Virgili cross.

After the break, Australia continued to apply the pressure and just before the hour mark, Virgili added his second, and Australia-s fourth, goal of the match when his shot from inside a crowded penalty box found the back of the net.

Attacking midfielder Kearyn Baccus netted in the 63rd minute, before substitute Josh McVey pounced on an error by the Chinese goalkeeper to shoot into an open net and score in the 72nd minute.

Australian Captain Daniel Bowles completed the scoring for the Green & Gold in the 84th minute with a dominant header from a corner.

China did record a consolation goal late in the game when Shang Yuan scored from a well struck free-kick that gave goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic little chance of saving.

After the match, Australian coach Paul Okon was pleased with his team-s first outing.

"Although the result was good, having also had the opportunity to watch Chile and the USA play on the other field, we will need to improve our performance for the next two matches.

"The benefit of taking an early lead against China, meant that early in the second half we could rest a few players to keep them fresh for Friday and Sunday-s matches.

"I was happy with our structure and discipline today, but there are still plenty of things we can work on in preparation for our next match” concluded Okon.

In the other match of the evening, the USA and Chile played out an exciting 1-all draw.

Australia-s next match at the AYOF is tomorrow night against Chile (kick-off 5pm AEDT) and will face the USA in their final match of the tournament on Sunday (kick-off 6pm AEDT)

Match Details

Australia 7 (James VIRGILI 3-/57- Mitchell BEVAN 41-, Steven LUSTICA 46+-, Kearyn BACCUS 63-, Joshua MCVEY 72-, Daniel BOWLES 84-) China 1 (Wang SHANG YUAN 88-)

Thursday 15 January 2009 Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood Crowd: 500

Referee: Alan MILLINER Assistant Referees: Nick BACKO and Scott EDELING Fourth Official: Gary VANDEBURGT

Australia line-up: 1.Lucas ANDREUCCI (gk) (18.Dejan ALEKSIC (gk) 46-), 4.Daniel BOWLES (c), 5.Peter FRANJIC, 6.Kearyn BACCUS, 7.Mitchell BEVAN (3.Dylan DE MONTIS 73-), 10.Kliment TASESKI, 12.Jacob BORG (8.Cameron EDWARDS 54-), 13.Steven LUSTICA, 14.Tyler THURTELL (9.Joshua GROENAWALD 57-), 15.Koh SATAKE, 17.James VIRGILI (11.Joshua MCVEY 65-).

Substitutes Not Used: 2.Liam HARVEY, 16.Neko VUJEVICH

Yellow Cards: Peter FRANJIC 40- Red Cards: Nil

China line-up: 1.Wang QI (gk), 2.Wei ZHI CONG, 3.Zhang Ruo Hua, 4.Wang YUN CHANG, 5.Duan YU, 6.Chen LONG, 7.Kong LING YI (14.QIN Yu 57-), 8.Lin JING QUAN (c), 9.Cheng YUE JIE (17.Ma SI YUAN 69-), 10.Wang SHANG YUAN, 11.Xiao YI FENG (12.Wang PENG 46-)

Substitutes Not Used: 13.Liu YANG, 15.Zhao CHEN HAO, 16.Liu JIA LIU, 18.Huang HUNG BO (gk)

Yellow Cards: Nil Red Cards: Nil