Qantas Australian Under 23s draw with Iraq

The Qantas Australian Under 23s were held to a 0-0 draw by Iraq in their AFC Asian Qualifier for the 2012 London Games match played in Doha, Qatar last night.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s were held to a 0-0 draw by Iraq in their AFC Asian Qualifier for the 2012 London Games match played in Doha, Qatar last night.

In a match that was unusually played in very difficult, windy conditions in the Qatari capital, the Qantas Australian U23s dominated the majority of play and possession in the first half.

Qantas Australian U23s head coach Aurelio Vidmar handed qualifying campaign debuts to goalkeeper Mat Ryan and attacking midfielder Dimitrios Petratos.

Around the 15 minute mark, Mate Dugandzic had a good one-on-one opportunity against the Iraqi goalkeeper, Jalal Hachim, but unfortunately put his shot over the crossbar. Ten minutes later Sebastian Ryall had a great header that forced a fantastic save out of Hachim.

Just before the half-hour mark, Qantas Australian U23s defender Aziz Behich picked up a yellow card, his second of the campaign after collecting one against the UAE in Adelaide, which rules him for the next match against Uzbekistan.

The Qantas Australian U23s had another three chances before the break but were unable to convert any of them.

The second half both teams started to tire and the chances were not as forthcoming although the Qantas Australian U23s still created opportunities. James Brown had a good chance mid way through the second half but his shot went skimmed over the crossbar.

After the match, Aurelio Vidmar was disappointed that his team was again unable to find the back of the net.

“Tonight we lost three points, we had very good chances in the first half and we should have had the game won by half time.

“We controlled the game for most of the 90 minutes and I couldn-t fault the effort of the players, we just couldn-t score a goal.

“The group is still very much open and we have an important match against Uzbekistan in five days time and we need to take three points” concluded Vidmar

The UAE will host Uzbekistan in the other Group B match day 2 fixture tonight at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s will now travel back to Australia to face Uzbekistan on Sunday 27 November at Parramatta Stadium.

With the loss of Behich and with Cameron Edwards returning back to England to join his club Reading FC, Vidmar has called in Newcastle Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski and Melbourne Heart defender Curtis Good into the Qantas Australian U23s squad to face Uzbekistan.

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.

The AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games match between the Qantas Australian Under 23s and Uzbekistan will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.

Match Details Iraq 0 Qantas Australian U-23s 0 Al Arabi Stadium, Doha, Qatar Tuesday, 22 November 2011 Referee: Andre El Haddad (Lebanon) Assistant Referees: Adi Ali (Lebanon) & Hadi El Kassar (Lebanon) Fourth Official: Ghandour Radwan (Lebanon) Crowd: 200

Iraq line-up: 12.Jalal Hassan Hachim (gk), 2.Faisal Jasim Nafil, 3.Ali Bahjat Fadhil, 5.Faris Hassan Neamah, 6.Amjed Kalaf Mansoor Al-Muntafik (11.Ali Saad Mahmood 79-), 7.Saif Salman Hashim, 9.Mohammed Saad Abdullah, 10.Amjed Radhi (c) (18.Mostafa Mohammed Jawad Kareem 89-), 13.Dhurgham Ismael Dawood, 15.Mustafa Ahmed Abdulameer (16.Mohanad Abdulraheem Karrar 60-)-, 17 Mf Nabeel Sabah air

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Mohanad Qasim Kareem, 4.Ahmed Issa Ibrahim, 8.Hozan Ismael Mohammed, 14.Hussein Ali Waheed

Head Coach: Radhi Sh Swadi (IRAQ)

Yellow Cards: Faisal Jasim Nafil 90+3-

Red Cards: Nil

Qantas Australian U-23s line-up: 1.Mathew Ryan, 2.Matthew Foschini , 3.Sebastian Ryall, 4.Matthew Jurman, 5.Aziz Behich, 6.Oliver Bozanic (c), 7.Mate Dugandzic, 8.James Brown, 9.Jason Hoffman (17.Adam Taggart 71-), 10.Mitchell Nichols, 11.Dimitrios Petratos (16.Kofi Danning 76-)

Substitutes not used: 12.Daniel Mullen, 13.Dylan McGowan, 14.Rhyan Grant, 15.Cameron Edwards, 18.Mark Birighitti

Head Coach: Aurelio Vidmar (AUS)

Yellow Cards: Aziz Behich 28, Matthew Foschini 45+1-

Red Cards: Nil