Jamie Maclaren has no doubt the Olyroos can handle the pressure of a must-win final group game against Jordan after keeping their Rio Olympics dream alive with a win over Vietnam overnight.
Goals in either half to Brisbane Roar duo James Donachie and Maclaren guided the Olyroos to a 2-0 win at the AFC U-23 championships on Monday morning (AEDT).
The tournament doubles as Rio qualifiers with the top three nations only progressing to the Olympics in August.
With UAE and Jordan playing out a goalless draw it means Aurelio Vidmar’s side must win their final group match on Thursday to stay alive.
When asked if the young side could deal with the pressure of a must-win clash against Jordan, Maclaren told FFA TV: “It already has tonight. You saw after the game how happy we were.
“We know we’re only half way there. It was good to get the UAE game out of the system and focus on getting three points against Jordan which is definitely what we need.
“We’re looking forward to it.
“Now we’re in a position where we know what we have to do, three points is a must against Jordan. All the boys are full of confidence and it’s a good group to be in,” the NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee added.
While two goals was enough to see off the feisty Vietnamese, the Olyroos really could have racked up a bigger scoreline if not for some wasteful finishing and superb saves from goalkeeper Minh Long.
“We said it as a team, the main thing is to create chances,” Maclaren said.
“We were pretty disappointed how we only created a few chances against UAE and it was important for us to create a lot because we’re an attacking team.
“For us to get chances, I think we had 10-plus shots tonight, it’s a great thing and to walk away with a clean sheet as well, we’re happy.”
Maclaren, who has been in sensational form in the Hyundai A-League with Roar, capped another all-action display with the match-sealing goal on the hour mark.
Vietnam failed to deal with a corner, with Maclaren making no mistake after a smart layoff by Andrew Hoole.
“It was a pretty funny one from the set piece. It hit [Donachie], rebounded to Hooley and I just got in a position where he could cut it back to me,” Maclaren said of his goal.
“I saw the ‘keeper was way off his line, it was a great cut back by Hooley and thankfully it went in the back of the net.
“I had a similar chance in the first half so it was good to get one over him [their keeper]".
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