Kamal Ibrahim screamer wins it for Qantas Joeys

The Qantas Joeys have qualified for the quarter finals of the AFC U16 Championship being held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after securing a 2-1 win over China. Kamal Ibrahim thunderous bomb early in second half proved to be the winner.

The Qantas Joeys have qualified for the quarter finals of the AFC U16 Championship being held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after securing a 2-1 win over China.

The win guarantee's Australia top spot of the group regardless of our last result against Turkmenistan as China play Saudi Arabia in last group match and only one of them can join them on six points. Australia would finish courtesy of the head to head rule and will play the runner-up of Group D.

The decisive goal came from the boot of Kamal Ibrahim five minutes in to the second half, when he beat two Chinese defenders and then let rip with a fierce shot from just outside the box that rocketed into the top corner. Jared Lum scored Australia-s other goal from penalty spot after 15 minutes.

However the win has come at a cost, with captain Brendan Hamill and Eli Babalj-s ability to play in the remainder of the tournament in doubt after both rolled ankle-s in the match and had to be replaced. Jared Lum was also forced off after just 25 minutes because of sickness.

Coach Martyn Crook was obviously delighted with the win, but concerned over the injuries to key players.

“We are delighted to come through with three points against a quality opposition, it was a battle,” he said after the match. “Our goal was to get through to the quarter-finals and we have done that so that is excellent.”

“This was a tough match and the first half was played at a high tempo. The Chinese suffered from this especially once we scored the second goal as they were out on their feet. Our boys did well considering all substitutions were early in the match and all due to injury or illness.”

Two-goal hero from Australia-s opening game; Stephen Domenici had the first decent opportunity of the match, when he hooked the ball just wide after eight minutes.

But seven minutes later Australia was in front after Nikola Stanojevic cut inside his defender on right touchline, dribbled into the box and is bought down in a challenge by two Chinese defenders. Lum made no mistake with his pot kick, blasting it home, although that was to be his only major contribution as he was forced off with illness.

Australia escaped several Chinese raids in the remainder of the first half, the first after a defensive mix up saw the ball go wide and then a 30-yard drive from Shi Ke beat Robert Kolak, but not the crossbar.

However in first half injury time Australia gave away possession after Jin Jingdao was brought down by Kolak as he made he dribbled into the penalty box. Jin picked himself up to convert the penalty.

Ibrahim-s screamer settled the contest five minutes after the break, while Ben Kantarovski headed against the crossbar five minutes later.

With first place in the group guaranteed, Crook is likely to rest quite a few required players in the match against Turkmenistan, who lost their second match 4-0 to Saudi Arabia.

"This win has secured us top spot in clearly the toughest group of the competition”, Crook added. “We have the opportunity to rest some players and give a chance to other squad members to push for selection in the next round.

"The loss of Jared Lum, Eli Babalj and captain Brendan Hamill during the game tested our resources, but there were many outstanding performances, particularly from Chris Bush and Ben Kantarovski. We now await medical advice on the condition of these 3 players and their roles for the rest of the tournament."

Match Details

Australia 2 (Jared Lum 15- pen, Kamal Ibrahim 50-) China 1 (Jin Jingdao 45-+ pen)

Australian line-up: Robert Kolak (gk); Chahine Noujaim, Petar Franjic, Brendan Hamill (Trent Sainsbury 70-), Marc Warren, Nikola Stanojevic, Chris Bush, Jared Lum (Ben Kantarovski 25-), Kamal Ibrahim, Stephen Domenici, Eli Babalj (Tedros Yabio 45-)

Cautions: Ibrahim (67-), Hamill (70-), Stanojevic (85-)

AFC U-16 Championship - Group C
 Team P  W  D  L  F  A  D  Pt 
 1 Australia22005236
 2 Saudi Arabia21015323
 3 China P.R21013303
 4 Turkmenistan200216-50