Antonis seals win for Young Socceroos

Young Socceroos score a dominant 3-0 win over Iran overnight with Sydney FC’s Terry Antonis scoring a sublime left foot goal to round out the victory.

The Qantas Young Socceroos have qualified for the quarter-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship after defeating IR Iran 3-0 in Zibo, China tonight.

A first half goal to Mustafa Amini and second half goals to Kerem Bulut and Terry Antonis gave the Qantas Young Socceroos the valuable three points that has put them into the prime position to advance to the semi-finals stage of the competition and qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The opening twenty minutes of the game were a very hard and physical affair, with both teams sharing possession.

Iran had the first real chance of game, after a clumsy tackle from behind by Ben Kantarovski gave Iran a free kick. Yaghoub Karimi-s resulting attempt from 30 metres out was blocked by Rhyan Grant and cleared away from danger.

The Qantas Young Socceroos took the lead in the 39th minute after a corner taken by Marc Warren was headed out by an Iranian defender straight to Mustafa Amini who then hit a sweet right footed shot from just outside the box which rocketed into the back of the net.

The Iranians applied the pressure for the early part of the second half, but the Qantas Young Socceroos managed to keep the game under control and didn-t look like relinquishing their lead.

On the hour, Mathew Leckie, after receiving the ball on the right side, switched the ball to Tom Oar on the left. Oar then provided a great pinpoint cross into the box for Rhyan Grant to head towards goal which forced the Iranian goalkeeper Ali Reza Safarbeiranvand to make a great save deflecting the ball onto the post and back into play. Kerem Bulut was on hand to pounce on the rebound and easily tapped in from close range for the Qantas Young Socceroos second goal.

After the restart Iran counter attacked immediately and a great shot by Kaveh Rezaei from 18 metres out forced Qantas Young Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti into making a fine diving save.

A pivotal moment occurred in the 71st minute when Iran made a break after a long ball was played through by their goalkeeper to their forwards running towards goal. Birighitti came off his line quickly, but then slipped as he approached the ball. As Birighitti backtracked, running towards the goal alongside Kaveh Rezaei, he clipped the Iranian forward as he attempted to get the ball, conceding a penalty and receiving a yellow card in the process.

Iran-s captain Payam Sadeghian had the opportunity to get his team right back into the game but hit his penalty shot was struck hard into the right-hand goalpost and back into play which was then cleared by the Qantas Young Socceroos.

The scoring was completed just before the end of regulation time when Terry Antonis received the ball near the box, dribbled towards goal and then calmly slotted his left footed shot past Ali Reza Safarbeiranv to seal a memorable victory for the Qantas Young Socceroos.

The match ended on a slightly disappointing note for the Qantas Young Socceroos when defender Marc Warren received a red card for retaliation after a clash with Mojtaba Mahboub deep into injury time.

Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was very proud of his team-s performance and believed that the score was not necessarily a true reflection of the match.

“The score didn’t reflect how hard the game was. We had to fight for every ball and play hard as a team for the whole 90 minutes.

“The first goal was a class goal and so too was the cross from Tom Oar which created the second goal which ensured that we had control of the game.

“There is no doubt that the missed penalty helped us. If the score had got back to 2-1 it could have been a very different end to the match.

“The third goal closed out the game and I was extremely pleased with the overall performance and how well we worked and played as a team.

“With this result we have now qualified for the quarter finals. We have an important game against the Korea Republic on Friday and this is our next focus for the tournament,” concluded Versleijen.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will face the Korea Republic on Friday with the Australians needing a draw or a win to top the group after the Korea Republic defeated Yemen 1-0 in the other group match today.

The Qantas Young Socceroos quarter final match will be played on Monday 11 October against either the Winner or Runner-up from Group C (Japan, Jordan, United Arab Emirates or Vietnam).

The semi-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship will be held on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.

The top four nations from the AFC U-19 Championship will qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in Colombia next July/August.

Match Details

Qantas Young Socceroos 3 (Mustafa Amini 39-, Kerem Bulut 61-, Terry Antonis 88-)
IR Iran 0

Qantas Young Socceroos line-up: Mark Birighitti (gk), Dylan McGowan, Brendan Hamill, Ben Kantarovski (c), Kofi Danning (Tom Oar 50-), Rhyan Grant, Kerem Bulut (Matthew Fletcher 79-), Mathew Leckie, Mustafa Amini (Terry Antonis 68-), Nikola Stanojevic, Marc Warren

Substitutes Not Used: Sam Gallagher, Jason Davidson, Eli Babalj, Dan Bowles, Ryan Edwards, Matthew Acton (gk), Steven Lustica, Dimitrios Petratos, Alex Pearson (gk).

Yellow Cards: Rhyan Grant 41-, Mark Birighitti 71-, Mathew Leckie 83-

Red Cards: Marc Warren 90+2-