Qantas Australian U-23s draw with UAE

The Qantas Australian U-23s and the UAE played out a 0-0 draw in their opening match of the third round of AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympic Games at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The Qantas Australian U-23s and the UAE played out a 0-0 draw in their opening match of the third round of AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympic Games at Hindmarsh Stadium.

As was expected, both teams attacked each other from the opening whistle with the UAE having the better of the early exchanges although Australia had two good opportunities to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when defender Matt Jurman headed over the bar from an Oliver Bozanic corner and three minutes later when Bozanic's free kick found Sebastian Ryall's head, but Ryall-s effort went wide of the goal.

The UAE had a good chance on the half hour when Ahmed Khail had a shot from 25 metres out which went marginally wide of the Australian goal. Khalil looked to have broken the deadlock two minutes later when his shot from close range found the back of the net only to see the goal denied as the assistant referee adjudged him to be in an offside position.

In the 35th minute Australian captain, Oliver Bozanic, was next to have a great shot on goal from long range. Bozanic-s well struck left-footed shot looked on target but was deflected away by a UAE defender for a corner.

Just before half time, Bozanic nearly turned from hero to villain when he mistimed a back pass to his goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne which allowed Ali Mabkhout to intercept and head towards a one-on-one with the Australian custodian. Fortunately Bozanic recovered quickly and was able to make a telling last ditch tackle on Mabkhout to defuse the situation.

The second half saw Australia lift their game considerably and with the improvement came better scoring chances.

Just before the hour mark, Aziz Behich floated in a perfect cross from the left which found Mitch Nichols in the middle of the box. Unfortunately, Nichols resulting header was slightly off target.

The UAE had their best chance of the half five minutes later when Khalil dribbled into the Australian penalty box and shot low and hard to the far post. Redmayne responded with a fine reflex save dropping to his left and parrying the ball away from goal.

In the 68th minute, Nichols had another chance from inside the box, this time from a Marko Jesic cross from the left. This time Nichols diving header from close range was directed straight at the UAE goalkeeper, Ahmed Mahmoud.

For the remainder of the match both teams pushed hard for the winner but with no real chances forthcoming. In the end, both teams had to settle for a point each in what a very interesting contest, albeit without any goals.

At the post-match media conference head coach Aurelio Vidmar was disappointed that his team didn-t find their rhythm and play to their potential.

"It was certainly a difficult game for us tonight," said Vidmar.

"In no way did we ever get our rhythm. It was quite obvious."

"For the half a dozen games that we have played over the past twelve months this is certainly a performance that was not up to scratch."

"But in saying that we also have got to look at where we are at in terms of players coming to the end of the pre-season. Some have played quite a few minutes in the pre-season, some haven-t."

"I always thought it (tonight) would be a tricky one. We got a point so we-ll have to take that and get ready and prepared for the next game against Iraq," concluded Vidmar.

In the other group B match Uzbekistan defeated Iraq 2-0 at the JAR Stadium in Tashkent.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s will play Iraq in their next AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympic Games match on Wednesday 23 November (Venue TBA) and then Uzbekistan four days later at Parramatta Stadium in NSW.

The teams in each group of the third round of qualifying play in a home-and-away format from 21 September 2011, to 14 March 14, 2012, with the winner of each group directly qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition.

The three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a playoff at a centralised venue from March 25 to 29, 2012, and the winners of this group will meet the representatives of CAF (Africa) for a berth in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Match Details Qantas Australian U-23s 0 UAE 0

Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Wednesday, 21 September 2011 Referee: Minoro TOJO (Japan) Assistant Referees: Toshiyuki NAGI (Japan), Hideaki NISHIO (Japan) Fourth Official: Minh Tri VO (Vietnam) Crowd: 2390

Qantas Australian U-23s line-up: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Matthew FOSCHINI, 3.Sebastian RYALL, 4.Matthew JURMAN, 5.Aziz BEHICH, 6.Oliver BOZANIC (C), 7.James BROWN (16.Mate DUGANDZIC 70-), 8.Diogo FERREIRA (15.Rhyan GRANT 70-), 9.Jason HOFFMAN, 10.Mitch NICHOLS, 11.Marko JESIC

Substitutes not used: 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 14.Daniel MULLEN, 17.Kofi DANNING, 18.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk)

Head Coach: Aurelio Vidmar

Yellow Cards: Diogo Ferreira 54-, Aziz Behich 88-, Matthew Jurman 90+1-, Red Cards: Nil

UAE line-up: 17.Ahmed MAHMOUD (gk), 2.Saad SUROUR, 3.Mohamed AHMAD, 4.Abdulaziz HUSSAIN, 5.Amer ABDULRAHMAN, 7.Ali Ahmed MABKHOUT (8.Mohamed AHMED 60-), 10.Theyab AWANA, (12.Mohammed JAMAL 57-), 11.Ahmed KHALIL, 14.Abdelaziz SANQOUR, 15.Habib ALFARDAN (13.Salem SALEH 72-), 18.Mohamed FAWZI (C)

Substitutes not used: 1.Adel Mohamed ALHOSANI (gk), 6.Ali Al AMERI, 9.Ahmed ALI, 16.Mohammed FAYEZ

Head Coach: Mahdi Ali Hassan Redha

Yellow Cards: Ahmed Mahmoud 81-, Ahmed Khalil 89-, Red Cards: Nil