Young Socceroos go close to taking down Spain

The Young Socceroos have narrowly gone down to host nation Spain 3-2 in their final match of the COTIF International Tournament in L’Alcuida, Spain overnight.

he Young Socceroos have narrowly gone down to host nation Spain 3-2 in their final match of the COTIF International Tournament in L-Alcuida, Spain overnight.T

Going into the match, the Young Socceroos knew they were up for a challenge against the undefeated Spaniards. But the Australians were not overawed by the situation and took the game to their hosts right from the start, sharing possession and putting their Spanish opponents under plenty of pressure.

In a shock to the large Spanish crowd in attendance, it was the Young Socceroos who took the early lead in the 4th minute when Peter Skapetis intercept a pass from the Spanish goalkeeper, Cantero, who was trying to play out from the back. Skapetis received the ball around 20 yards out and then worked his way into the box to slot his shot into the goal.

After conceding their first goal of the tournament, Spain was spurred into action and equalised in the 11th minute when Pino got on the end of a cross and finished from around 12 yards out.

The Young Socceroos continued to battle and created a number of great opportunities deep in the first half, the best of which was Awer Mabil laying a ball off to Stefan Mauk who forced a great save out of Cantero.

The second half continued at a frenetic pace and Spain began to apply more pressure on the Young Socceroos.

Spain eventually took the lead in the 46th minute when they received a free kick outside box. López curled the ball over the wall and into the goal.

Again the Young Socceroos refused to give in and in the 65th minute they equalised through Skapetis who received the ball from a throw-in, took on his defender and then shot past Cantero to notch his fourth goal of the tournament.

In the last minute of the match, just when the match seemed destined to end in a draw, Spain had a corner, the Young Socceroos cleared but Spain regathered the loose ball and it was played it back into the box and Hermoso was on hand to angle the ball into the Australian goal to give his team a last minute victory.

Speaking after the match, Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon was proud of his team-s efforts against Spain and throughout the tournament.

“It was a fantastic match and the players played a great game. It was extremely disappointing to lose by conceding a goal in the last minute of the match,” said Okon.

“Once again we showed against a world class opposition that we can match it with them and we scored 2 top class goals and created a number of other opportunities.

“We need to learn to be more resilient in defence and these matches against high quality opposition show how important that is or they make you pay.

“There are many positives to come out of the performance and we have made significant improvement throughout the tournament and the plan is to continue to build on this,” concluded Okon.

Match Details

Spain 3 (Pino 11-, López 46-, Hermoso 70-)

Young Socceroos 2 (Skapetis 4-/65-)

Estadio Municipal Els Arcs De L'Alcúdia, L'Alcúdia, Spain Friday 16 August 2013 Referee: Abraham Abad Esteban Assistant Referees: Daniel Perea Parrés & J. Luis Lagardera Ventura Crowd: 6,000

Note: matches are 2 x 35 minute halves and allow ten substitutions. As a result these are not considered full internationals

Spain line-up: 1.Cantero, 2.Campins (18.Marín 62-), 3.Quintilla (49.Hermoso 36-), 4.Tarín (15.Ramírez 36-), 5.Sáez, 7.Mina (12.Oteo 44-), 10.López (8.Cotán 62-), 14.Pino (16.Sánchez 56-), 17.Alejo (9.Calero 62-), 19.Hernández (11.Fernández 44-), 20.León (6.Gil 56-).

Coach: Luis de la Fuente.

Australia.18.Radonich, 2.Davies, 11.Garuccio (16.Naumoff 52-), 3.Jiménez, 6.Gligor, 7.Mabil, 20.Makrillos (19.Olsen 52-), 14.Mauk, 9.Skapetis, 8.Oxborrow, 4.Woodcock .

Coach: Paul Okon.