Young Socceroos make winning start in Hanoi

The Young Socceroos made a winning start to their 2018 AFC U19 Championship qualification campaign in Vietnam on Saturday, defeating Hong Kong 3-0 in their Group J encounter.

An 11th minute strike from Melbourne City FC youngster Ramy Najjarine put Ufuk Talay’s team ahead in Hanoi, and despite dominating possession and territory for the remainder of the first half, the score remained at 1-0 at the interval.

The Young Socceroos controlled the bulk of possession in the second stanza, too, however it took until the 80th minute of the match for Australia to double their advantage.

After Daniel Arzani was fouled in the box, Western Sydney Wanderers FC man Moudi Najjar stepped up to convert from 12-yards.

With five minutes remaining the Young Socceroos put the result beyond reasonable doubt via a second penalty from Najjar.

Najjar’s second opportunity from the spot came after Melbourne Victory’s Christian Theoharous was fouled inside the area.

Pic courtesy of the AFC
Pic courtesy of the AFC

Hong Kong captain Kot Chun Hey was sent off late in the game for a dangerous challenge, however by then Talay’s team were already well in control.

“It was a good start to our AFC qualifiers against a team which made it difficult to break them down by sitting deep with their whole team behind the ball,” Talay said after the match.

“Pleasingly we had total dominance of possession in the opponent’s half, and were able to get the goals to secure a very important three points.

“I am happy with the performance of the players and we now look forward to the challenge of playing DPR Korea,” concluded Talay.

Should Australia defeat DPR Korea in Hanoi on Wednesday, the Young Socceroos will qualify for the 2018 AFC U19 Championship, which will be held in Indonesia.