Josh Brillante scored a screamer, but it wasn't enough to save the Young Socceroos from a loss at the hands of football minnows El Salvador.
The Qantas Young Socceroos have been dealt a blow in their quest for progression to the knockout stages of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, after being defeated 2-1 by El Salvador at the Yeni Sehir Stadium in Rize.
The win was El Salvador's first at any major FIFA tournament outside of beach soccer and the team's star midfielder Diego Coca could hardly believe it when he spoke to journalists post-match.
“It-s a historic and incredible moment for our country,” he told FIFA.com.
“When the referee blew the final whistle it felt like we were touching the sky. To be honest, I don-t think it-s sunk in yet.”
Josh Brilliante looked to have laid the foundation for another dominant Australian display with a super goal from distance on nine minutes, only for Coca and Jose Pena to respond for El Salvador before the break, securing the win for the Central Americans.
Though Australia were dominant in possession and willing in attack, a tenacious and worthy opponent would ultimately deny them at least a share of the spoils.
The loss means Australia's chance at qualification to the knockout stages will largely depend on a win against hosts Turkey in their final Group C clash on Friday (Saturday morning AEST).
Brillante's sublime drive from some twenty metres opened the scoring early on.
The Newcastle Jets midfielder - one of Australia's best three days ago against Colombia - made his presence felt from the outset on this occasion and was rewarded with one of the goal's of the tournament to date.
The Young Socceroos were stopped in their tracks upon Coca's equaliser and further stunned when Pena gave El Salvador the lead close to the break.
The fluid, dominant performance of days ago against Colombia hadn't disappeared entirely, but had certainly eroded somewhat against the challenge of a lively El Salvadoran outfit that deserved their half time lead.
Prolific qualification goal scorer Corey Gameiro was one of three attacking substitutes introduced by Paul Okon after the break as Australia pushed for a result.
El Salvador's defence would prove resilient, with the Young Socceroos struggling to deliver a blow in the final third.
Despite the result, the Young Socceroos can still make it past the group stage for the first time since 2003. The Aussies can gain a passage to round two with a victory over host nation Turkey along with an El Salvador loss or draw with Australia-s first group opponent Colombia.
Colombia beat Turkey overnight 1-0 in their second group match and need a draw with El Salvador to progress.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will tackle hosts Turkey in their final Group C match at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Trabzon's Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium on Friday, 28 June at 9pm local time (Saturday, 29 June 4am AEST).Australia 1 (Brillante 9') El Salvador 2 (Coca 17', Pena 40') Yeni Sehir Stadium, Rize
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