Najjarine nets stunner as Australia U23's defeated by late Ireland goal

Second-half substitute Ramy Najjarine scored a spectacular curled effort but it would prove to be not enough as a late Republic of Ireland header saw Australia U23's suffer a 2-1 defeat in the first friendly of their Marbella Training Camp. 

In an even contest that saw both sides head into the break scoreless, a Jay Rich-Baghuelou own goal and 90th minute Ross Tierney header cancelled out a moment of magic from the A-League-based winger on a warm afternoon in Spain. 

Australia created the better chances early on, as Panos Armenakas saw his shot blocked on three minutes before Southampton's Caleb Watts launched a strike over the bar after 13.

The selection overseen by Gary van Egmond and Trevor Morgan's best chance of the first 45 arrived five minutes before half time as John Iredale played a precise ball to release Anthony Kalik in behind, but the Croatia-based winger's effort could only sting the palms of Irish goalkeeper Sam Blair. 

Ireland then forged their best sight on goal in the closing seconds of the stanza as Louie Watson curled a dangerous effort over the bar. 

After a relatively even start to the second half, the breakthrough arrived for Ireland three minutes shy of the hour mark. 

Conor Noss fizzed a powerful low ball into the area that Jay Rich-Baghuelou could only deflect into his own net, beyond the reach of Jordan Holmes. 

Ramy Najjarine
Ramy Najjarine was a member of the Australian squad that secured Olympic qualification back in January 2020

Wide duo Daniel Arzani and Ramy Najjarine were introduced in the 54th minute, and 20 minutes later, the latter announced his arrival in spectacular fashion to draw Australia level. 

Najjarine found the ball at his feet out wide, before taking a step inside and powering a pinpoint effort into the top corner. 

Arzani then went close two minutes later, but the final goal of the match would arrive on the counter-attack - at the other end of the pitch. 

The 90th minute saw Ireland break with pace, with a ball whipped into the path of Ross Tierney who nodded home what would prove to be the winner. 

Australia's Marbella Training Camp will see them take part in three more friendlies over the coming days. Their next assignment is a meeting with fellow Asian nation Saudi Arabia. 

READ: Ramy Najjarine ready to shine during Marbella matches

READ: Gary Van Egmond's powerful message to aspiring Olympians

Australia U23s 1-2 Ireland U21s

Australia Starting XI: 12. Jordan HOLMES, 3. Gabriel CLEUR, 4. Jay RICH-BAGHUELOU, 7. Anthony KALIK, 10. Panos ARMENAKAS , 14. John IREDALE, 19. Ryan TEAGUE, 22. Connor O’TOOLE, 24. Marc TOKICH, 25. Caleb WATTS, 26. Kristian POPOVIC

Substitutes: 15. Ramy NAJJARINE, 11. Daniel ARZANI, 21. Luka PRSO, 2. Doni GRDIC, 5. Dylan RYAN, 1. Ashley MAYNARD-BREWER, 18. Jacob CHAPMAN, 13. Con OUZOUNIDIS, 16. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 17. Marlee FRANCOIS, 20. Murray MILLER

The Olyroos’ final squad selection for Tokyo 2020 is due to be announced in late June, before the squad assembles in Japan for a training camp in early July.

Australia will return to the men’s football tournament at the Olympic Games for the first time since Beijing 2008 this year. Tokyo 2020 also marks the first time that Australia will be represented in both men’s and women’s football since Athens 2004.

Australia U-23's June Match Schedule

Match 1: Australia 1-2 Republic of Ireland (U21)

Match 2: Australia U23 v Saudi Arabia U23
Date: Saturday, 5 June 2021
Venue: Estadio Municipal, Marbella, Spain
Kick-off: 2:00pm local; 10pm AEST
Live Stream: YouTube Channel.


Match 3: Australia U23 v Romania U23 
Date: Tuesday, 8 June 2021
Venue: Estadio Municipal, Marbella, Spain
Kick-off: 8:00pm local; 4:00am AEST Wednesday, 9 June 
Live Stream: YouTube Channel.

Match 4: Australia U23 v Mexico U23
Date: Saturday, 12 June 2021
Venue: Estadio Municipal, Marbella, Spain
Kick-off: 8:00pm local; 4:00am AEST Sunday, 13 June 
Live Stream: YouTube Channel.