The Subway Olyroos have recorded a comfortable 7-1 win over Laos in their first AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Qualifier in the early hours of Thursday morning (AEST) in Tajikistan.
Nishan Velupillay and Noah Botic scored braces while Louis D’Arrigo, Lachlan Brook and substitute Alou Kuol also found the back of the net.
Laos did breach Cameron Cook’s goal themselves courtesy of an absolute screamer of a free-kick on 12 minutes, however it proved merely a consolation in what was a dominant performance from Tony Vidmar’s men.
Velupillay, who would go on to win the Player of the Match award, nodded the Green and Gold into the lead from Lachlan Brook’s inch-perfect set piece, before finishing off D’Arrigo’s cut-back all inside the opening four minutes.
D’Arrigo himself etched his name on the scoresheet in similar fashion moments after following an incisive move on the left flank which involved Lucas Mauragis and Jake Hollman. The former seeing his squared cross slotted home by the former Adelaide United midfielder.
Left-back Mauragis then notched his second assist of the evening in Dushanbe when Botic controlled his deep cross on his thigh before toe-poking past the Laos goalkeeper.
It went from bad to worse for Laos as they were reduced to 10 men to start the second half after a reckless, high tackle on Ryan Teague.
And it was not long before the Aussies took advantage of their numerical advantage with Botic and Brook quickly scoring thanks to some more impressive build-up play.
Two substitutes combined to make it 7-1 in the 79th minute when Marlee Francois delivered a venomous cross into the area which was volleyed in off Alou Kuol’s knee.
Australia will be back in action on Wednesday morning at the same time (1:30am AEST) against hosts Tajikistan, aiming to top Group I and guarantee its ticket to Qatar.
Laos U23 1
Australia U23 7 (Velupillay 2’, 4’, D’Arrigo 7’, Botic 21’, 55’, Brook 59’, A.Kuol 79’)
Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2023 (Local), Thursday, 7 September (AEST)
Venue: Republican Central Stadium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Qualifiers – Group I
Australia U23 XI: 2.Callum TALBOT (C), 4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 5.Lucas MAURAGIS, 6.Ryan TEAGUE (8.Patrick YAZBEK 74’), 7.Lachlan BROOK, 10.Jake HOLLMAN, 12.Cameron COOK (GK), 15.Kai TREWIN, 19.Noah BOTIC (9.Alou KUOL 65’), 21.Louis D’ARRIGO (17.Cameron PEUPION 65’), 23.Nishan VELUPILLAY (22.Marlee FRANCOIS 74’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Nicholas BILOKAPIC (GK), 3.Hosine BILITY, 11.Jahce NOVELLO, 13.Matthew DENCH, 14.Nectarios TRIANTIS, 16.Chris DONNELL, 18.Ethan COX (GK), 20.Joshua RAWLINS
Player of The Match: 23.Nishan VELUPILLAY