Sydney FC striker George Blackwood, Wanderers' rising star Alusine Fofanah and Perth Glory's Riley Woodcock were on the scoresheet to help the Young Socceroos to a comeback 3-2 win over New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday.
A strong second half showing from the New Zealand side wasn’t enough as Australia opened the U-20 Five Nations Series at QBE Stadium on Sunday with a come-from-behind 3-2 win.
After New Zealand held a 2-1 halftime lead thanks to goals from Clayton Lewis and Alex Rufer, the New Zealand side were run down thanks to second period strikes three minutes apart from Fofanah and Blackwood.
New Zealand opened the scoring in the 28th minute, All Whites fullback Deklan Wynne collecting possession in midfield and running 40 yards to the edge of the Australian area where he squared for Lewis to fire in sharply out of the reach of Australian ‘keeper Thomas Glover.
But the visitors were level just three minutes later, a neat move unlocking the New Zealand back four and Woodcock finished well from the cutback on the byline for 1-1.
Paul Okon’s Australia continued to edge possession after their equaliser and New Zealand survived several close calls as a 38th minute header rattled Zac Speedy’s crossbar after a corner before the New Zealand ‘keeper did well to smother an Australian shot from close range.
But it was the home side who led at the break, their work out of possession again proving fruitful, Rufer working hard to chase down an under hit back pass just ahead of Glover and his re-direct just enough on it to roll across the goal line just before it was hooked back by a recovering Australian defender.
New Zealand began the second half with some effective work without the ball earning repeated corners and pressure and Alex Rufer saw two chances come and go.
The home side paid for those misses as first Alusine Fofanah on the counter attack and then George Blackwood scored inside a three minute period on the hour mark.
But New Zealand continued to threaten at the other end and extended periods of pressure went unrewarded with Stuart Holthusen’s redirect of a miss-hit shot almost earning a draw in stoppage time but for the intervention of Glover.
The Five Nations Series continues on Monday with Qatar facing Ghana at QBE Stadium at 1pm.
U-20 Five Nations Series
Sunday 3 May
New Zealand 2 (Clayton Lewis 28’, Alex Rufer 40’)
Australia 3 (Riley Woodcock 31’, Alusine Fofanah 58’, George Blackwood 63’)