Milligan goal sees Qantas Under 23's home
The Qantas Under 23's, as expected, have qualified for the second phase of the 2008 Olympic Men's qualifying tournament, after beating Chinese Taipei 1-0 in Taipei tonight. Captain Mark Milligan scored the only goal in the second half.
The Qantas Under 23s have confirmed their passage to the second stage of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games with a hard fought 1-0 win in Chinese Taipei tonight.
A goal from captain Mark Milligan mid-way through the second half was all that separated the teams on the night after Australia comprehensively won the first leg 11-0 in Adelaide last week.
Australia dominated the game but could only breach the packed home defence once with Spase Dilevski and Milligan exchanging passes before the latter clipped a superb strike over the goalkeeper.
Coach Rob Baan took a cautious approach with his use of players being mindful of this weekend-s Hyundai A-League Grand Final, and also matches later this month for the Qantas Under 23s, with Newcastle United goalkeeper Ben Kennedy being pressed into on-field action as a striker late in the match as a result. Baan electing to again use Melbourne Victory-s Adrian Leijer sparingly substituting the defender at half time following his second half substitution last week.
Newcastle United pair Stuart Musialik and Mark Bridge and Melbourne Victory-s Kristian Sarkies were all omitted from the teamsheet as a precautionary measure following injury concerns last week, while Queensland Roar defender Ben Griffin was unavailable for the match through illness.
“We have done what we needed to do tonight and can now concentrate on the next match against Iran in two weeks which will undoubtedly be a crucial match in the group,” said Baan.
“Our opponents played extremely defensively tonight even when they fell behind in the match so it was a very different type of match to last week for a number of reasons, not least of all our large change in playing personnel.”
Australia now progress to Group D of Round 2 qualification alongside Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan with the first match against Iran in Tehran on February 28. Group D home matches for Australia will be played at Adelaide-s Hindmarsh Stadium during March and May.
Newcastle United-s Troy Hearfield will link up with the squad tomorrow (Thursday) with the Qantas Under 23s to compete in the Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong over the coming week. Australia will meet the Chinese Under 23 team on Sunday with the winner to face the victor of Jamaica Under 23s and a Hong Kong League XI next Wednesday.
The team will then travel to Dubai where they will remain in camp preparing for the opening Group D match in Tehran.
Australia 1 (Mark Milligan 63-) Chinese Taipei 0
(Australia win 12-0 on aggregate)
Australian line-up: Danny Vukovic (gk); Ruben Zadkovich, Mark Milligan (Ben Kennedy 75-), Adrian Leijer (Steven O-Dor h/t), Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Leigh Broxham, Dario Vidosic, Spase Dilevski, Adam D-Apuzzo (Robert Cornthwaite 55-), Vince Lia, Bruce Djite Subs Not Used: Tando Velaphi (gk)
Cautions: Zadkovich 61-