The Young Socceroos have qualified for next year’s AFC U-19 Championship in Bahrain despite their 3-0 defeat to Japan in the final match of qualifying overnight.
Needing a win to top Group J and ensure qualification, Paul Okon’s side pushed the highly-fancied Japanese side hard for the first 44 minutes before receiving a double blow before the break.
Japan pounced twice in first half stoppage time, including a penalty, through Takagi Akito and Sakai Daisuke.
Koki Ogawa then also converted from the penalty spot with 19 minutes left to ice the result and top spot in the group for Japan.
But despite finishing second in the group, the Young Socceroos still booked their spot in Bahrain as one of the best five second place nations at the qualifiers.
The side finished on six points – with wins over Laos and Philippines – and a goal difference of +5 to go into the draw for the tournament, which will be held in October next year.