Qantas Joeys kick off FIFA U-17 World Cup with a win

The Qantas Joeys have come from behind to win their opening Group F match against Côte d'Ivoire in Estadio Guadalajara today.

The Qantas Joeys have recorded a memorable 2-1 victory in their opening Group F match FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 against Côte d'Ivoire in Estadio Guadalajara today.

After being a goal down at half time, a stunning strike by Jesse Makarounas in the 51st minute started the come back before Dylan Tombides- goal 13 minutes from time secured the three points.

The Qantas Joeys struggled to find their feet in the first half and found themselves behind after only 18 minutes. A mistake by central defender Tom King gifted Souleymane Coulibaly the ball and he made no mistakes to place his shot into the corner of the goal beyond the reach of Qantas Joeys- goalkeeper Paul Izzo.

Côte d'Ivoire had majority of the possession in the first-half and came close to doubling their lead on numerous occasions. The Qantas Joeys best chance of the first-half came in the 31st and 32nd minutes. The first coming off a great cross on the left which found the unmarked Makarounas in the box but he was not able to hit the target with his header while the second saw Tombides through on goal but his shot went over the bar.

Qantas Joeys Head coach Jan Versleijen made one change at half-time, bringing on Riley Woodcock for Jake Monaco and a few tactical changes to his formation as well. The changes paid off for the Qantas Joeys scoring the equaliser early in the second-half. From a throw in, Makarounas played a quick one-two with Hernan Espindola before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 25-yards.

The introduction of Teeboy Kamara in the 65th minute gave the Qantas Joeys the speed and support they were lacking upfront and the substitution almost paid off instantly. Makarounas collected a pass from Kamara before cutting in for a shot which was well saved by goalkeeper Yored Konate.

Teeboy Kamara was again instrumental in the setup for Qantas Joeys winning goal in the 77th minute. He dribbled past several of the Côte d'Ivoire defenders before he was tackled at the top of the box.

Tombides was first to the loose ball and he buried his shot at the near post to give the Qantas Joeys the lead. Tombides celebrated his goal by running to the camera to display his shin pad which had the words ‘Happy Birthday Mum-.

Côte d'Ivoire mounted on the pressure late in the game in search of the equaliser but the Qantas Joeys defended well in the last 13 minutes well with Izzo making two great saves to deny Côte d'Ivoire.

In the end, the goals from Makarounas and Tombides were enough to give the Qantas Olyroos the vital three points in their opening match of the tournament. Speaking after the match, Qantas Joeys Head Coach Jan Versleijen was happy with the result but disappointed in his team-s first half performance.

“I don-t think we played well. We lost too many balls and that made us nervous. In the second-half, we pressured higher and forced them to make some mistakes. The last ten minutes, we played for survival.”

“If you compare the Ivorians, they are technically better. They are not clinical enough.

“There is a simple rule in football that if you don-t have the ball you have to work.”

“You can see Dylan (Tombides) has great skills, he is strong on the ball. He is technically good with his left and right foot. He is a key promising player.”

“At half-time we spoke about trying to use Dylan more. Supply him a bit more and give him decent balls to make the change.”

Versleijen also spoke about now focussing his attention on preparing for the next match against Brazil.

“We will watch the video. We-ll try to add a little more experience and technical awareness to bring the players to a higher level”, concluded Versleijen.

The Qantas Joeys next match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 is against Brazil on Thursday, 23 June. (6am AEST, Friday, 24 June)

Match Details: FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 - Group F Qantas Joeys 2 ( Jesse MAKAROUNAS 51-, Dylan TOMBIDES 77-) Côte d'Ivoire 1 (Souleymane COULIBALY 18-) Monday 20 June 2011, Estadio Guadalajara Referee: Raymond Bogule (Jamaica) Assistant Referee: Marcos Quintero (Mexico) & Salvador Rodriguez (Mexico) Fourth Official:Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)

Qantas Joeys starting-lineup: 1.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Jake MONACO (21.Riley WOODCOCK 46-), 3.Connor CHAPMAN (c), 4.Tom KING, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Yianni PERKATIS (14.Milos DEGENEK 67-), 7.Hernan ESPINDOLA (Teeboy KAMARA 65-), 8.Mitch COOPER, 9.Dylan TOMBIDES, 10.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Jacob MELLING

Substitutes not used: 11.Luke REMINGTON, 15.Anthony PROIA, 16.Stefan MAUK, 18.Daniel SADAKA (gk), 19.Mitchell OXBORROW, 20.Nicholas ANSELL

Yellow cards: Yianni PERKATIS 19-

Red cards: Nil

Côte d'Ivoire starting line-up: 1.Yored KONATE (gk), 2.Jean-Eudes AHOLOU (7.Jean KOUASSI 78-), 3.Mory KONE, 5.Jean THOME, 8.Victorien ANGBAN, 9.Daniel SOUNGOLE, 11.Lionel LAGO (12.Guy BEDI 78-), 14.Mehoue TRAORE, 15.Drissa DIARRASSOUBA, 18.Ibrahim COULIBALY, 19.Souleymane COULIBALY

Substitutes not used: 4.Ibrahima BAH, 6.Dorian KOUAME, 10.Wilfried GNAHORE, 13.Jeremy KIMMANKON, 16.Severin DJE YAO (gk), 17.Losseni KARAMOKO, 20.Banvo ANDERSON, 21.Aboubakar OUATTARA (gk)

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil