Kofi Danning scored the Young Socceroos’ opening goal in their 4-1 rout of Yemen in the first game of the AFC U19 Championship in China overnight while Rhyan Grant played a full game and Terry Antonis came on in the 77th minute.
The Qantas Young Socceroos have defeated Yemen 4-1 in their opening match of the AFC U-19 Championship in Zibo, China.
After conceding shortly after the start of the match, the Qantas Young Socceroos responded with three first half goals through Kofi Danning, Kerem Bulut and Dylan McGowan with Matthew Fletcher finishing the scoring late in the second half.
The Qantas Young Socceroos got off to a bad start after Dylan McGowan mis-controlled the ball on the edge of the box in the second minute of the match. Yemen-s Ahmed Al Baidhani, pounced on the ball and neatly slotted it to the right of Mark Birighitti.
Twelve minutes later Yemen turned the ball over coming out of defence with Mathew Leckie capitalising on the error. Leckie made a dashing run into the box and then played the ball across the goal and which was initially saved by the Yemeni goalkeeper Abdo Esam, but Kofi Danning was on hand to gather the rebound and tap in to equalise for the Qantas Young Socceroos.
The Qantas Young Socceroos took the lead in the 27th minute after Dylan McGowan was pulled down by a Yemen defender during an Australian corner kick. Kerem Bulut stepped up to take the resulting penalty and cheekily dinked his shot over the goalkeeper to claim a goal.
On the half hour, the Qantas Young Socceroos extended their lead from another corner when Marc Warren hit a deep, curving ball to Dylan McGowan who was unmarked in the box. McGowan-s resulting header flying into the top right corner of the goal.
The second half saw the Qantas Young Socceroos continue to dominate possession and created a number of scoring opportunities.
One of the best chances of the half coming in the 75th minute after Leckie turned his defender inside out and then played a looping ball into the 6 yard box to Bulut. Bulut’s header forced a great save by Abdo Esam who deflected the ball into the left post and back into play.
The scoring was completed in the 83rd minute after Nikola Stanojevic made a fast break and then played a pinpoint, long ball to Brendan Hamill. Hamill attacked down the right side and then crossed to Matthew Fletcher who calmly finished the move with a tap in.
Speaking after the match, Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was pleased with his team-s first match of the tournament.
“After starting a bit slowly and nervously we dominated the game for the first half.
“Being behind one-nil we did not panic and knowing that we have a quality team we started to control the game and this difference ensured we were able to create and convert goal scoring opportunities.
“The second half we knew if we continued to control the game that chances would come and we managed to get one more goal and it could have been two or three more.
“Mathew Leckie was outstanding tonight and his contribution was a major factor in the result.
“Overall I was pleased with the start to the tournament knowing that we will improve as we play more matches and we are looking forward to what will be a very hard match with Iran on Wednesday,” concluded Versleijen.
The victory puts the Qantas Young Socceroos on top of their group after the Korea Republic defeated IR Iran 2-0 in the earlier match.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their next match of the tournament against IR Iran on Wednesday 6 October with their final group match against the Korea Republic on Friday 8 October. The quarter finals will be played on Monday 11 October, semi-finals on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.
Qantas Young Socceroos 4 (Kofi Danning 14-, Kerem Bulut 27-(pen), Dylan McGowan 30-, Matthew Fletcher 83-)
Yemen 1 (Ahmed Al Baidhani 2-)
Qantas Young Socceroos line-up: Mark Birighitti (gk), Dylan McGowan, Brendan Hamill, Ben Kantarovski (c), Kofi Danning, Rhyan Grant, Kerem Bulut (Matthew Fletcher 77-), Mathew Leckie, Mustafa Amini (Terry Antonis 77-), 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),
Not Available: Tom Oar.
Yellow Cards: Rhyan Grant 13-, Brendan Hamill 42-, Marc Warren 48-
Red Cards: Nil