AUCKLAND – A late first half goal from Jeremy Brockie spearheaded a New Zealand fightback but it wasn’t enough for the Thai Airways Oly-Whites who went down 1-2 to the Indonesian national team in Jakarta on Thursday night.
New Zealand’s U-23 side fell behind to their senior opposition after just 12 minutes when Firman Utina fired a powerful free kick past Jacob Spoonley with the help of a deflection from Cole Tinkler, and went two goals down through Bambang Pamungkas after half an hour.
Brockie brought New Zealand back into the game a minute before halftime with a low drive just inside the left hand upright of the Indonesian goal, and would have levelled the scores just moments later had Indonesian goalkeeper Markus Horison not got a touch to his next effort.
Neither team could add to the score after the break although Shaun van Rooyen (twice), Craig Henderson and Brockie went close to finding an equaliser.
Fresh-off-the-plane striker Chris Killen played 75 minutes and Simon Elliott came off the bench for the last half hour, with New Zealand coach Stu Jacobs pleased with the introduction the two over-age players.
“It’s really encouraging. Chris gave us a great platform up top. He’s a seasoned pro playing in one of the best leagues in the world and gives us the ability to go forward off his play,” Jacobs said.
“Simon’s been chomping at the bit to play but we’re just holding him back a wee bit yet. His organisation, quality and experience showed when he came on and even in training he’s taking the sessions up a level.”
Despite temperatures still topping 30 degrees as the sides kicked off, New Zealand had enough in the tank to finish strongly with Jacobs seeing it as a sign his side were acclimatising well and peaking at the right time just two weeks out from their Olympic opener against China in Shenyang on August 7.
“We came away with plenty of positives. We finished the game really well, had three or four gilt-edged chances and for the last 15 or 20 minutes the Indonesians weren’t even in it,” Jacobs said.
“I think physically we’re right there, we just need to turn those nearlies into goals.
“Indonesia were a step up from the Olyroos and the Mariners but I’m pleased with the way we competed against a senior national team.
“We created some really good opportunities from some promising passages of play. We were getting the ball into Killy’s feet and our wide players played really well. They had two very sharp players up front but our players coped with what they had.”
The Oly-Whites finish their Olympic build-up with a match against Indonesian Super League club Persija Jakarta on Saturday night.
Thai Airways Oly-Whites 1 (Jeremy Brockie 44) Indonesia 2 (Firman Utina 12, Bambang Pamungkas 30). Halftime 1-2
Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
Thai Airways Oly-Whites: Jacob Spoonley (GK), Aaron Scott (captain / Jack Pelter 77), Steven Old, Michael Boxall, Ian Hogg, Craig Henderson, Cole Peverley, Cole Tinkler (Simon Elliott 60), Daniel Ellensohn (Shaun van Rooyen 77), Jeremy Brockie, Chris Killen (Sam Messam 75).
Substitutes not used: Liam Little (RGK), Sam Jenkins.
Head Coach: Stu Jacobs.
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