An impressive Australia have drawn 0-0 with Mexico in their second Group C game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chillan, Chile.
In the end, three world-class saves from Mexico and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Abraham Romero denied the Joeys the three points in a much-improved performance.
It was an end-to-end opening 15 minutes, with Joeys goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic called into action early on, saving well.
Shortly after, the Joeys earned a string of free kicks with set-piece specialist Jake Brimmer stepping up to the plate. His second effort did not disappoint; a curling free kick forcing a great save from Romero to tip Brimmer’s shot wide.
As the first half went on, the Mexicans began to take control of the game.
Their best chance of the half came at the half hour mark through Eduardo Aguirre.
Jose Gurrola found the striker on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and Aguirre connected sweetly, only to see his shot cannon back off of the post and out of play.
The last ditch defence didn’t stop there for the Joeys, with Mexico having another golden opportunity to take the lead early on with a goalmouth scramble that was amazingly defended by the Australians.
Mexico went into the half time break well and truly on top of the match.
That’s where the dominance stopped for the Mexicans; the Aussies came out firing in the second period.
Straight from kick-off, the Joeys walked through a non-existent defence with some quick, short passing only for Nicholas Panetta’s final effort to skew just wide to the left of Romero’s goal.
It was all Australia’s way after that, with the Joeys taking control of the match.
Romero once again made himself Australia’s villain, with a world class point-blank save after Kye Rowles connected with a header from six yards. The LA Galaxy keeper was up to the task, parrying the effort over the bar.
Mexico began to find their feet again towards the end of the second half, but failed to make any clear-cut chances.
The Joeys had one final chance to take the points when Joshua Hope was fouled 25-yards out. Substitute Panos Armenakas stepped up to take the free kick.
His effort looked destined for the top corner, only for Romero to brilliantly send his shot around the post, and earn a point for Mexico.
The much-improved performance was a far cry from Australia’s opening 4-1 loss to Germany.
The Joeys will now play Argentina in their final group stage match on Sunday morning, where they’ll need a win to earn a place in the knockout stages.
Argentina will also be desperate for a win after a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Germany.
Catch all the action as Australia takes on Argentina for a place in the Round of 16 live and exclusive on SBS One from 8.45am AEDT.
Australia XI: 1. Duro DRAGICEVIC, 16. Jonathan VAKIRTZIS, 14. Josh LAWS, 4. Kye ROWLES, 5. Jackson BANDIERA, 6. Joe CALETTI ©, 10. Josh HOPE, 8. Jake BRIMMER (19. Charlie DEVEREUX 70’), 11. Lucas DERRICK, 17. Nicholas PANETTA (7. Panos ARMENAKAS 50’), 15. Cameron JOICE (9. Pierce WARING 81’)