Qantas Joeys defeat China

The Qantas Joeys rounded out their international friendly tournament in Saudi Arabia with a 4-3 win on penalties against China.

The Qantas Joeys rounded out their international friendly tournament in Saudi Arabia with a 4-3 win on penalties against China.

With the game locked at 2-2 at the end of extra-time the Qantas Joeys held their nerve to end their tournament on a positive.

With China taking an early two goal lead, Australia pounced late in the game to share the regular time spoils before going on to win a penalty shoot-out 4-3.

China drew first blood with an attack down the left hand side of Australia-s defence before a cross to the back post was cleared only to the corner of the 18-yard-box where the Chinese midfielder took a touch out of his feet before curling the ball around Andre Janesse and neatly inside the back post.

Early in the second half China again made room on the wing and found their way in behind defender Darcy Madden before driving to the bi-line and cutting the ball back to the penalty spot for a first time finish to make it 2-nil.

With the Qantas Joeys never giving up the fight the chances went begging for both sides.

But as the referee showed there would be 4 minutes of added time added on Australia kicked into gear.

Daniel De Silva stole the ball from a mistimed China pass, playing out from the back, and beat his marker one-on-one before powering his way towards the China goal, committing the China gloveman before squaring his pass to an oncoming Alex Gersbach who made no mistake in blasting the ball into the back of the net.

And in the second last minute of time added on another Chinese player went down in their own penalty box after an Australian attack. With the Chinese goalkeeper delaying, for the second time in the match, the China was penalised for holding the ball longer than six seconds.

From the indirect free kick at the top of the box Taylor Tombides touched the ball for Steve Kuzmanovski who drove his superb free kick into the top right hand corner smashing the top of the net to level the scores.

Both sides had one more opportunity each to take the lead in the last minute but were unable to convert.

With the friendly match going straight to penalties China missed first up as Thurtell made a diving save to his right. Jack Iredale slipped on Australia-s second penalty and the keeper saved his shot with the rebound almost spinning into the net.

However Thurtell-s diving save to his right on China-s fifth penalty gave Steve Kuzmanovski the opportunity to seal the win.

Kuzmanovski made not mistake in coverting from the spot giving the Qantas Joeys a fitting send off from the tournament giving the side a win, draw and loss in their three tough matches.

“This tournament has provided 3 excellent games for our preparation for the AFC Championships in Iran,” said Qantas Joey-s Head Coach Alistair Edwards.

“We used these games to experiment both tactically and personnel wise making full use of the 22 player squad, the overseas players joined us for the first time while 3 home based players made their international debut.

"Tony and I have had a lot of questions answered and leading into Iran we are now very comfortable in knowing the capabilities of each player at this level and how they are progressing adapting to the system and style of play.

“Tonight was a classic example of a game of two halves, China played really well in the first and after a few changes to the game plan in the second half we dominated the second, once again finishing the game strongly.

“These type of tournaments are crucial for our development so the invitation from our Saudi Arabian friends was most welcome and very timely, we are now looking forward to Bolivia where we can take all the positives and learning moments from our preparation to date and fine tune for what promises to be an exciting tournament in Iran.”

Match details Qantas Joeys 2 (Alex Gersbach 90-, Steve Kuzmanovski 90-+3) China 2 (35-, 53-) Australia wins 4-3 on penalties

Qantas Joeys starting line-up: Andre Jannese (HT” Jordan Thurtell), Darcy Madden, Aaron Calver, Jack Iredale, Ross Millard (28”James Baldacchino), , Steve Kusmanovski, George Mells(HT” Liam Rose) Daniel De Silva, Alex Gersbach, Taylor Tombides, Hyuga Tanner (HT”Lukas Stergiou)

Unused Subs: Rocco Pizzata, , Matthew Schmidt, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, , Matt Stewart, , Josh MacDonald, Kevin Ly