The Young Socceroos face Uzbekistan in their second group game at the AFC U-19 Championships tonight (Tues) in Bahrain with a win all but securing Australia a spot in the last eight.
After both nations won their opening match in Group D on Saturday, three points at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium this evening would all but secure progression to the knockout rounds for Australia.
The Young Socceroos need to reach the semi-finals of this tournament to qualify for next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
“Winning games give us more confidence, it always helps," Australia head coach Ufuk Talay said.
“But we take it one game at a time. These games are challenging for us and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Young Socceroos, fresh from winning the AFF U-19 Championship in Hanoi last month, carried that form into their opening 1-0 win over China on the weekend.
In an impressive display from the Aussie youngsters, midfielder Mario Shabow’s goal in the first minute of the second half was the difference in an end-to-end encounter.
Lachlan Scott and George Blackwood combined to set-up the match-winner for the Western Sydney Wanderers youngster.
A swift counter attack saw Blackwood drive into the area before squaring to Shabow who bent his shot from 12 yards into the bottom corner.
“It is always good to score but what was important was to grab three points from this game, which will give us momentum in the competition,” Shabow told the AFC website.
“We have been working very hard in training for the competition and we are happy that we could begin with a victory.
“This will give us confidence in the next matches.”
Uzbekistan came from a goal down to beat Tajikistan 2-1 in their first group match.
Australia face Tajikistan in their final group game later this week.
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