Joeys notch seven in opening fixture

The Joeys have made a strong statement in their opening match at the AFC U-16 Championship being staged in Hong Kong, thumping Chinese Taipei 7-0.

The Joeys have defeated Chinese Taipei 7-0 in their opening match at the AFC U -16 Championship - 2014 Qualifiers played at the Hong Kong Football Club in Hong Kong earlier this morning.

The approaching Typhoon Usagi meant that the scheduled fixture against Chinese Taipei was postponed and played a day later. Despite the delay, the Joeys swept through their opponents with ease, scoring goals in both halves.

The Joeys commenced the game well, maintaining good ball possession that kept their opponents deep within their own half. The Joeys almost took the lead in the 3rd minute, after stand out performer Jackson Bandiera whipped in a dangerous cross from the attacking left wing, only to see his driving ball run across the vacant Chinese Taipei goal mouth.

It wasn-t until the 20th minute that the Joeys could break down a resilient Chinese Taipei defence, courtesy of a Nicholas Panetta goal. Panetta received the ball just outside the 18 yard box, dribbled around a few Chinese Taipei defenders and calmly slotted home the teams first goal of the day. Three minutes later, the Joeys doubled their score after a penetrating run by Bandiera leashed onto a ball that was played across the box, leaving the Chinese Taipei defence exposed.

The Joeys extended their lead in the 31st minute after defender Perry Fotakopoulos contested strongly in the air to win a header that saw the ball travel into the back of the net from a in swinging left hand corner.

The goal of the game arrived in the 35th minute when Jamie Dimitroff latched onto a half volley from the edge of the 18 yard box. A corner was played directly to the unmarked Dimitroff whose first touch sat beautifully, with the timely strike blasting the net.

Bandiera found himself on the scores sheet again in the 39th minute, after a switch of play found him out wide on the edge of the 18 yard box. Seamlessly, Bandiera beat his opponent, cut-in towards goal and powerfully side footed the ball past Chinese Taipei goalkeeper, Syuan-Jin Tian.

Just before half time, the first yellow card for the match was awarded to Chinese Taipei-s Cheng-Ju Chen. The Joeys went into the break leading 5-0 and full of confidence, on what was a warm and humid sunny Hong Kong day.

The second half started slowly, with the testing conditions challenging the Joeys players. Although still dominating play, the Joeys had seemed to lose some rhythm in its play with its execution in the final pass and some decision making dropping the teams momentum.

In the 61st minute, Bandiera made it six for the Joeys after a deep corner found Panetta who laid the ball off for a finish from close range. The Joeys needed to wait until the 76th minute to seal the match, thanks to a Bandiera volley. A perfectly timed switch of play by substitute Joe Caletti found Bandiera dangerously approaching the Chinese Taipei 18 yard box.

Head Coach Tony Vidmar praised the performance of his team but noted his side would need to maintain their effort for the duration of the tournament.

“It was a good first up start from the team it hot and trying conditions,” said Vidmar. “In particular the first half where we were well structured and disciplined when we had possession and that culminated in creating good chances where we scored.

“Tomorrow we front up again within 24 hours to play our second game against Macau and if the players stick to the game plan this should be a game where we can create chances.”

The Joeys will take a lot of confidence into their second match, knowing that Macau were humbled 5-0 by Chinese Taipei on the opening day. Nevertheless they know they can ill-afford any slip ups as they need to finish top of group to progress to next stage of qualification.

The Joeys next match is against Macau on Wednesday 25 September (Kick-off 10:30am local time, 12:30pm AEST).

Match Details Chinese Taipei 0 Joeys 7

Tuesday 24 September 2013 Hong Kong Football Club, Hong Kong

Joeys line-up: 2. Christian VERBI (13. Tommy STOKES 68-), 3. Perikles FOTAKOPOULOS, 4. Kye ROWLES, 5. Zachary SPETH, 6. Jake WILLIAMS (16. Joe CALETTI 55-), 7. Cameron JOICE, 8. Nicholas PANETTA, 10. Jamie DIMITROFF, 11. Jackson BANDIERA, 12. Brandon OSIPOV (gk), 19. Daniel MASKIN (22. Kosta PETRATOS 63-).

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Duro DRAGICEVIC (gk), 9. Nicholas D-AGOSTINO, , 14. Danny KIM, 15. Caio DE GODOY, , 17. Zakariah WATERS, 18. James DELIANOV (gk), 20. Jamal REINERS, 21. Gian MENDEZ, , 23. Charlie DEVERUX