Olyroos midfielder Stefan Mauk is after revenge against UAE in the AFC U-23 Championship opener on Friday morning (AEDT) after their opponents knocked Australia out of youth World Cup qualifiers two years ago.
The Olyroos open the tournament in Doha – which doubles as qualifiers for the Rio Olympics – against the tricky Arab nation.
Mauk has bad memories against UAE from the qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup two years ago, when a late penalty saw the two side’s draw 1-1, with the young Aussies eventually missing out on qualification.
“They [UAE] are a pretty physical side and they’re pretty street-smart,” Mauk told FFA TV.
“We copped an 89th minute penalty against them [in 2014] so it was pretty disappointing and I guess they were pretty excited about that and rubbed it in a little bit.
“Hopefully this time we can get the wood over them and make sure we beat them comfortably.
“We’re pretty excited to get the first game underway. It feels like it’s been a long time coming and should be a good first test against the UAE,” he added.
The Olyroos have now assembled in Qatar ahead of the start of the tournament and remain steadfast in their focus of booking their ticket to Rio over the next couple of weeks.
For Mauk, he heads into these games in exceptional form, having played a major role in Melbourne City’s Hyundai A-League rise over the last two months.
“I’ve never really nailed down a starting spot with Melbourne City but I’ve finally been able to do that this season,” the 20-year-old said.
“I’ve got a couple of goals to go with it so the confidence is pretty high for myself…hopefully I can bring that into the team here.
“There’s plenty of good players here so I’m sure if I do get the chance hopefully I’ll be able to show the talent I’ve been doing in the A-League.”
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