New era for Australian football kicks off in Malaysia

The Qantas Under 13 Boys team kicked off a new era for the development of Australian national team players, when they played in the opening day of the 2009 AFC Under 13 Festival of Football in Sabah, Malaysia.

The Qantas Under 13 Boys team kicked off a new era for the development of Australian national team players, when they played in the opening day of the 2009 AFC Under 13 Boys Festival of Football in Sabah, Malaysia.

The Festival is an AFC initiative to give highly talented young players a taste of international football and help their development for future years.

Each country played three games on the opening day with the focus on giving every player (22 in total) plenty of game time in the 30 minutes for each game.

While results are taken down of the games, they are not a priority and there is no competition table or winner declared of the tournament with the focus purely on development of the players.

In the middle of the five day tournament, there is a skills day.

Australia-s first match was against Laos and provided a good introduction to Asian football for the players, with neither side able to score.

Playing in humid conditions and on a substandard field of play the boys were outstanding and dominated play from beginning to end. The boys controlled the ball and always looked to play to feet and out from the back. Options were excellent all over the park regardless of the bumpy playing field.

The defence line of Nabi Tuna (goalkeeper), Richard Blanco, Milos Ridesic, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos and team Captain Thomas Beadling were rarely tested outside of an effort which was saved at the second attempt by Tuna. In possession they showed good composure and distribution and were compact in defence.

With the difficulty of erratic bounces the midfielders showed great touches and confidence to continue to play a passing game. Kevin Ly was solid and held the team well, while Dimitar Mitkov and Jerome Dunphy prompted well and were excellent outlets for the team in its endeavour to go forward.

Wide players Jordan Nadalin and Daniel De Silva and striker Brandon Lundy were not heavily involved, however did cause problems when involved and when in the attacking third. This was a dominating and outstanding display of possession and overall Football in a first up hit out for the first Australian Under13 side.

The second game was against host nation Malaysia, who were a considerably bigger opposition and playing a direct long style of Football. As per tournament rules we had to field a completely new starting side and the team again competed very well.

In the early part of the game the boys were finding their feet against the opposition and their strengths. After a period of holding a good shape and defending well as a unit the team began to showcase their talents and delight the crowd with good touches, one touch Football and general domination of possession.

The Malaysians were at times dangerous with the long ball from either the keeper or their defence, however, this was dealt with well by keeper Jordan Thurtell and centre backs Christopher Skull and Ben Warland. Aiden Naughton and Jaiden Walker the captain in this match, covered well in defence and were good options going forward.

Attacking raids notably involved midfielder Vincent Giannini and striker Conor O-Neill who were supported well by Noah Chianese and Leo Anathasiou out wide and Ben Hombert through the middle of the park.

Jordan Brown was a standout player and controlled the game after the initial early part of the match. He showed great touches and vision which was the catalyst for all the good play by the Australians.

In the end the boys were unlucky not to get a win after creating some good chances late in the game, the match like the first finishing scoreless.

The 3rd game in the day against Indonesia ended with a positive result, more importantly the boys showed they had adapted well to conditions in terms of the pitch and weather.

A direct free kick by Kevin Ly was well bent into the bottom corner, to put Australia up in the match. Outside of his goal Ly was instrumental in all of Australia-s play and lead by example.

The game was an even game and both teams played some good football and were very positive in possession and in attacking raids. There were limited chances for both teams due to the outstanding defences and defending.

All in all this was an even game that was played in excellent spirit. Although results are not the priority of this Festival of Football, it must be noted that this is the first win for Australia at this age group. Additionally, the effort by Ly is Australia-s first goal at Under 13s on the international stage.

Match Details

AUSTRALIA 0 LAOS 0

Australian Line-up: Nabi Tuna (gk), Richard Blanco, Thomas Beadling (c) , Milos Ridesic, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Kevin Ly, Dimitar Mitkov, Jerome Dunphy, Jordan Nadalin, Daniel De Silva, Brandon Lundy.

AUSTRALIA 0 MALAYSIA 0

Australian Line-up - Jordan Thurtell (gk), Christopher Skull, Aiden Naughton, Ben Warland, Jaiden Walker (c), Jordan Brown, Ben Hombert, Vincent Giannini, Leo Athanasiou, Noah Chianese, Conor O-Neill.

AUSTRALIA 1 (Kevin Ly 13m) INDONESIA 0

Australian Line-up: Nabi Tuna (gk), Richard Blanco, Thomas Beadling (c) , Milos Ridesic, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Kevin Ly, Dimitar Mitkov, Jerome Dunphy, Jordan Nadalin, Daniel De Silva, Brandon Lundy.

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