Qantas Next Young Socceroos into AFF semi finals

Qantas Next Young Socceroos have qualified for the semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U19 Youth Championship after defeating Cambodia 3-0 last night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Qantas Next Young Socceroos have qualified for the semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U19 Youth Championship after defeating Cambodia 3-0 last night in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos seemed less affected by the afternoon heat & humidity as they were in the previous two games and produced a professional display with excellent ball circulation, purposeful ball possession and creating a number of goal scoring opportunities in the process.

James Virgilli was again proving to be most effective in his wide attacking role with his skill and pace causing many problems for the Cambodian defence. His stinging attempt in the 11th minute, after a great individual run, set the tone for the game as the Qantas Next Young Socceroos used the width of the field to great effect to combat the compact and defence minded Cambodians.

On the other wing Joshua McVey was also proving a handful and in the 22nd minute, following some clever combination play and overlapping with Daniel Bowles, saw Eli Babalj almost get on the score sheet. Unfortunately Babalj-s downward header from a Bowles cross went centimetres wide.

Babalj was once again in the thick of the action on the half hour when the advancing Brendan Hamill delivered a far post cross to Kliment Taseski. Taseski ‘s header back across the goal was met by Babalj whose resulting attempt ricocheted back and forth between the goal keeper and the post to eventually spin agonizingly wide of the goal for a corner.

Just as it appeared that the Cambodian resistance would hold out until half time, in the 40th minute Virgilli produced another scintillating run down the left of the park, cut inside his marker Khek Khemrin and, under pressure from three defenders, produced a delightful curling far post finish from 20 metres that had the crowd at the Than Long Stadium on their feet in appreciation.

A minute after the restart, Taseski collected the ball from a miscued defensive clearance and slammed the ball in the bottom corner of the net to double the Qantas Next Young Socceroos lead.

The Cambodians responded to this set back almost immediately with some constant raids forward and as the exciting half was drawing to a close Mark Birighitti needed to be at his best to thwart Keo Sokngon-s one-on-one opportunity.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos came out for the second half knowing that one more goal and a clean sheet would guarantee them a place in the semi finals but they found an even more determined Cambodian team set on unsettling their more fancied opponents.

The Cambodians were starting to become more frustrated as the Qantas Next Young Socceroos controlled ball circulation, with Brendan Griffin dictating the tempo.

A rash challenge on Petar Franjic in the 55th minute gave the Qantas Next Young Socceroos a free-kick in a prime position outside the box. Brendan Griffin-s in-swinging free-kick from the left was met by Kliment Taseski who headed in for his second, and the teams all important third, goal for the afternoon.

The rest of the half was a tense affair with the Cambodian-s sitting back and counter-attacking at every opportunity and the Qantas Next Young Socceroos mindful that any lapses similar to the late goals conceded in their two previous games would possibly see them eliminated from the tournament on goal difference.

Taseski almost had his hat trick in the 63rd minute when he headed just over the bar after another cross from the right by Griffin.

In the later stages of the game Cambodia, now determined not to concede another goal, were content to sit back and the Qantas Next Young Socceroos, with news filtering through that Thailand were leading against Singapore, obliged by maintaining possession knowing that their semi final berth was all but confirmed.

After the game Qantas Next Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was satisfied with the professional approach of his team, particularly their ability to absorb new information and adapt to the climatic and tactical requirements of international football.

“Game by game the players understanding of what is required at this level is improving, I am also learning a great deal about the players and the type of aspects that we need to work on as a priority”, said Versleijen.

“Our ball circulation and movement was good today, we concentrated better for longer periods of the game and although we would have liked to score a few more goals from the chances we created we are pleased because we achieved what we wanted on the score board and tactically.”

“Our next game against Vietnam will be another great challenge for us, the crowd support for them has been great and this type of game is exactly what we need to gain further experience as international footballers and a team.”

“We will see how we all adapt to the pressure of playing the host nation, a big passionate crowd and a place in a major regional final, we won this tournament with the current Qantas Young Socceroos last year so the challenge is for this team to do the same”, concluded Versleijen.

In the other group A match, Thailand defeated Singapore 1-0, whilst in group B Malaysia defeated Myanmar 2-0 to claim a semi-final berth and Vietnam easily accounted for Timor Leste 3-1.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos will now face host nation Vietnam in the semi-finals on Monday 10 August (Kick off 5:45pm local, 8:45pm AEST) with Thailand and Malaysia meeting in the other semi-final.

Later in the year, the Qantas Next Young Socceroos will compete at the AFC U19 Youth Championships Qualifier Tournament in Jakarta, with the top three nations advancing to the AFC U19 Youth Championships which will be held in 2010.

Match Details

Cambodia 0 Australia 3 (James Virgilli 41-, Kliment Taseski 42-/51-)

Thanh Long Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Australian line-up: 1.Mark Birighitti (gk), 2.Dylan McGowan, 3.Daniel Bowles (c), 4.Brendan Hamill, 7.Joshua McVey, 8.Cameron Edwards (13.Kliment Taseski 27-), 9.Eli Babalj (16.Mathew Leckie69-), 10.Steven Lustica, 11.James Virgilli, 12.Petar Franjic, 20.Brendan Griffin.

Substitutes Not Used: 5.Jason Davidson, 6.Jared Lum, 12.Zachary Anderson, 15.Koh Satake, 17.Joshua Groenewald, 18.Nicholas Feely (gk), 19.Tyler Thurtell

Featured News