The Young Socceroos have stayed on track for a spot in the quarter-finals of the AFC U-19 Championships following a gritty 1-0 win over Indonesia on Sunday night.
A second half goal to winger Jaushua Sotirio proved the difference in steamy conditions at the Youth Training Centre in Yangoon.
The Western Sydney Wanderers FC attacker capitalized on excellent lead-up work from Daniel De Silva and Brandon Borrello to put the Young Socceroos in front on 66 minutes.
The result puts Paul Okon’s side level with Uzbekistan – who they play in the final match of the group phase – at the top of the group B standings on four points, with UAE in third on two.
It means the Young Socceroos must win their final match to ensure progression to the last eight, with a defeat or draw giving UAE the chance to leapfrog them.
The top four teams in the tournament in Myanmar will qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand next May and June.
“I was very satisfied with the result. The conditions were oppressive with a 3.30pm kick off and the players were brilliant in such tough conditions,” Okon said.
“We worked very hard and the opportunities to score came from this and we scored a great goal and deserved to win the match.
We made five changes to the starting line up to freshen up the team with only 48 hours between the matches, the changes worked well and also the substitutes played their part in getting the result.
“The next match will be a tough game against Uzbekistan and we will prepare and review the match and come up with what we believe is the best approach.”
The Young Socceroos dominated possession in the first half but only managed to create a few sights of goal, with Jordan Brown having the best chance just before the break.
The Melbourne Victory youngster was given too much space to run at a retreating Indonesia defence but his curling effort went wide of the post.
Goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell was forced into a couple of brilliant diving saves early in the second half to keep the Young Socceroos on level terms before Sotirio struck the decisive goal.
Adelaide United starlet Awer Mabil went close with a powerful strike which struck the post soon after but the Aussie youngsters held on to keep their hopes of World Cup qualification alive.