Zadkovich earns Qantas Under 23's 2-1 win over Chile
The Qantas Under 23's are virtually assured of a place in the semi finals of the Intercontinental Cup being played in Malaysia, after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Chile on Sunday.
The Qantas Under 23's has secured a place in the semi finals of the Intercontinental Cup being played in Malaysia, after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Chile on Sunday.
A draw in its final game against Togo on Tuesday, will guarantee top spot on the Group B table.
Australia led 1-0 after 25 minutes when Matt Simon scored his first goal for the Olyroos, but Chile equalised a minute before half time.
Derby County-bound Ruben Zadkovich handed Australia back the lead on the hour, a lead they were not to relinguish, despite being reduced to 10-men for the last 15 minutes after Spase Dilevski was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
Australia should have taken the lead after just nine minutes, when after a flurry of activity in the box, Simon struck the crossbar from only 5 yards out.
But it was Chile that was dictating play for the main part in the opening 20 minutes, as Australia struggled to get to grips with the slick South Americans.
Then on 25 minutes a great run down the right by fullback Trent McClenahan, saw him take it to the by-line before crossing into the box, where Simon this time made no mistake with his finish.
The match was back level though a minute before the break in spectacular fashion, when a free kick from about 30 metres was smashed into the top left hand corner.
Simon then capped a terrific game, by setting up the winner for Zadkovich on the hour mark, beating three defenders and crossing a great ball into the former Sydney FC midfielder, who headed home.
With the game getting physical, Dilevski, who had received an early booking, was then dismissed for a second yellow card and Australia manfully held on for a terrific victory.
Coach Graham Arnold hailed the character of the team, especially in those final 15 minutes when down to 10 men and Chile throwing everything at the Aussie defence.
“The character of the players tonight was first class”, said Arnold. “To come away with a win, especially after having to play with only 10 men for the last 15 minutes was a terrific effort by the players.
“This was a great test for us playing a South American team; we haven't played a South American team during the past two years and they were a good team.”
In the other group match, Croatia won 1-0 over Togo.
The final match of the group on Tuesday against Togo, will see Arnold lose four players - James Troisi, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, James Holland and Mark Bridge - who will fly back for the Socceroos match against Ghana, plus Dilevski to suspension. Mark Milligan however will be available after serving his two-match suspension.
Australia 2 (Matt Simon 25-, Ruben Zadkovich 60-) Chile 1
Australian line-up: Tando Velaphi (gk), Nigel Boogaard, Adrian Leijer, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Trent McClenahan, Ruben Zadkovich, James Holland (Stuart Musialik 55-), Spase Dilevski, Mark Bridge, James Troisi (Dario Vidosic h/t), Matt Simon (Adam D-Apuzzo 76-)
Cautions: Troisi (39-), Dilevski (52-), Vidosic (65-), Velaphi (90-) Expulsions: Dilevski (75-)