The Futsalroos have made the ideal start to their AFC futsal Championship campaign with a 2-1 win over China.
Tobias Seeto scored his second goal of the night from inside his own half with 64 seconds remaining as 2012 semi-finalists Australia snatched a 2-1 win over China in the AFC Futsal Championship on Wednesday.
China had taken a somewhat surprise lead after just three minutes of the Group B opener at Ton Duc Thang University Stadium through Zhang Wen only for Seeto to quickly respond for Australia.
And with China-s Portuguese coach Andre Lima opting to push for the three points in the closing minutes by withdrawing his goalkeeper in favour of an outfield player, the brave move presented the opportunity for Seeto to hand Australia the win allowing Steven Knight-s side to join 10-time champions Iran at the top of the Group B table.
“I respect the coach for what he has done. I will respect him for the rest of my life,” said Australia coach Knight, who now must prepare his side for Friday-s meeting with Indonesia.
“Being an amateur team who trains once a week for nine weeks, we did well.
“We had enough shots but we didn-t dominate the offence. We tried to regroup as much as we could, but we just need to be happy with the result as the China coach is a brave man.”
With Iran coach Jesus Candelas and captain Mohammad Taheri in the stands following their earlier 5-1 win over Indonesia in the Group B opener, China made the ideal start as Zhang ghosted in unmarked at the back post to turn home Deng Tao-s superb angled sliderule pass after just three minutes.
Australia, though, equalised just three minutes later in similar fashion as Ray Miller provided the pass for Seeto to net from close range.
And the Futsalroos began to assert control on the contest as the half progressed as Fernando De Moraes was denied twice in quick succession by China goalkeeper Zhu Bei, with the first a superb fingertip save after 15 minutes.
The even nature of the contest continued into the second half with both sides showing plenty of attacking intent, but crucially lacking the required quality in the final third.
Zhu was required to produce another full length save to again get a crucial fingertip touch to Seeto-s low drive with five minutes remaining.
China also showed their intent to claim all three points in the final two minutes as goalkeeper Zhu was withdrawn and replaced by Zhao Liang when Lima-s side were attacking.
But the move backfired with 64 seconds remaining as China conceded possession, and with Zhao out of position, Seeto scored his second of the night from close to the 10 metre penalty spot inside his own half.
“I felt my players were very tired as there was a lot of pressure from Australia so I tried to win the game as winning the first game in this type of tournament is very important.
"I tried to win the game, but we had some bad luck. We had many chances to score and I am very proud of my players,” said Lima.
“It is very positive that we kept fighting, but we had so many chances to score and in this type of tournament, if you don-t take your chances, it makes it very hard.
“My team is very young and they were able to fight against an experienced team like Australia makes us very proud.
“But we still need to change the mentality of the Chinese players to win, but this is only the start of the futsal project in China.”
For more information on the tournament click here.
Aussies Abroad: Leckie deployed in new role in Hertha's thrilling Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich
Matthew Leckie was handed a new role by Hertha Berlin head coach Ante Covic in a high-octane 2-2 draw with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The Caltex Socceroo was regularly deployed in an attacking position by former chief Pal Dardai but the Hungarian was replaced in the o
Van Egmond pleased with Young Socceroos’ progress ahead of Myanmar Semi-Final
Gary van Egmond says his Young Socceroos deserve plenty of credit for the way they are performing and developing at the 2019 AFF U-18 Championship. The young Aussies booked their spot in the Semi-Finals of the tournament on Thursday night after a dominant 5-0 win over Singapor
Turkish Super Lig preview: Behich and Basaksehir mean business
Aziz Behich is back in Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir, and the club at the nation?s heart well and truly mean business. ...elbourne-born Behich joined Istanbul in May, returning to the nation he was once eligible to represent through family lineage, and where he played for Burs
Bundesliga preview: Leckie and Borrello walk with giants
Australians love a challenge, and there is hardly a bigger one in the world of football than taking down Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. But you can be sure that Caltex Socceroo attackers Mathew Leckie and Brandon Borrello will give it a red-hot crack for both Hertha Berlin a