Under 23s held by Uzbekistan

The Qantas Australian Under 23s have played out a 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan in their AFC Asian Qualifier for the 2012 London Games match played at Parramatta Stadium last night.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s have played out a 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan in their AFC Asian Qualifier for the 2012 London Games match played at Parramatta Stadium last night.

Head coach Aurelio Vidmar made only one change to the line-up that he used against Iraq with Daniel Mullen coming at left back for the suspended Aziz Behich.

The match started with much promise with both teams trading opportunities in the opening half hour but none really troubled either goalkeeper

In the 36th minute Uzbekistan looked to have broken the deadlock when a shot from Kenja Turaev found the back of the net but he was denied with the assistant referee raising his flag for offside.

A similar situation occurred early in the second half when a Mitch Nichols shot was blocked by the Uzbekistan goalkeeper Kuvvatov Sanjar. Dimitrios Petratos pounced on the rebound and tapped in from close range, but was also called for being in an offside position and the denied the goal.

During the middle stages of the second half, Uzbekistan had a number of free kicks from outside the Australian penalty box, but none caused goalkeeper Mat Ryan any real issues.

Australia's best shot of the match came in the 77th minute when Nichols struck a stinging left footed shot from within the penalty box only to see it narrowly go over the crossbar.

The final moments of the match saw few chances created by either team. Uzbekistan seemed to be happy to take the point away from home.

Although the points were shared, Australian defender Matt Jurman did win the man of the match award for a fantastic defensive display.

After the match, Aurelio Vidmar was again disappointed that his team-s failure to score.

“I thought it was a super effort. It was always going to be tough. This is the first time, bar a couple of players, that they have ever actually played a double date and had to do all the travelling.

“So some of them felt a little under the weather for the first few days. So they were carrying a little bit of fatigue going into this game. But I-m sure the Uzbekis were as well.

“It was a very good effort. Unfortunately we still can-t hit the back of the net. Although when we did but it was offside. So that might be something that we just need to stop doing tactical work and do a little bit more shooting. So hopefully our fortunes can change in that respect.

"We get into those areas in front of the penalty area time and time again. We did that against Iraq time and time again. We-re probably lacking that little bit of extra finesse or the wall pass goes too long or the pass into the striker that instead of playing in front of him actually hits him in the neck.

"It's just those little small details in front of goal that have probably let us down over the last two games."

“But I couldn-t fault their attitude, their effort and their willingness to play. It was a very tough game as you could see. But they kept pushing themselves right to the end.

“Our next match is against Uzbekistan early next year. It-s going to be a tough away trip. However, I-m confident the boys will pull through” concluded Vidmar.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s will next travel to Tashkent in the new year to meet Uzbekistan again on the Sunday 5 February.

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.

Match Details Qantas Australian U-23s 0 Uzbekistan 0 Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta Sunday, 27 November 2011 Referee: Abdullah Mohamed Al Hilali (Oman) Assistant Referees: Hamed Sulaiman Marhoun Al Mayahi (Oman) & Ghanim Salim Waleed Al Bulushi (Oman) Fourth Official: Ibrahim Al Hosni (Oman) Crowd: 2,604

Qantas Australian U-23s line-up: 1.Mathew Ryan (gk), 2.Matthew Foschini , 3.Sebastian Ryall, 4.Matthew Jurman, 5.Daniel Mullen, 6.Oliver Bozanic (c), 7.Mate Dugandzic, 8.James Brown (14.Rhyan Grant 77-), 9.Jason Hoffman (17.Adam Taggart 72-), 10.Mitch Nichols, 11.Dimitrios Petratos (16.Kofi Danning 84-)

Substitutes not used: 12.Brad McDonald, 13.Dylan McGowan, 15.Ben Kantarovski, 18.Mark Birighitti (gk)

Head Coach: Aurelio Vidmar (AUS)

Yellow Cards: James Brown 37-, Mate Dugandzic 58-

Red Cards: Nil

Uzbekistan line-up: 12.Kuvvatov Sanjar (gk), 2.Ismatullaev Akbarjon, 3.Khodjiakbarov Abdukakhkhor, 4.Mustafaev Salim, 5.Tuhtahojaev Islom, 7.Kilichev Oybek, 9.Turaev Kenja (6.Ibrokhimov Javlon 81-), 10.Guryanov Nikolay (17.Abdukhaliqov Temurkhodja 41-), 13.Zoteev Oleg (14.Pirimov Zohir 58-), 16.Hasanov Jasur, 18.Musaev Fozil (c)

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Turaev Akbar, 8.Karimov Sherzodbek,, 11.Amanov Boburjon, , 15.Smolyachenko Pavel.

Head Coach: Vadim Abramov (UZB)

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil