ASA: The Young Socceroos have scored a hard-fought 2-1 win over Canada and in the process taken a giant step towards a berth in the knockout round of 16 at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A goal early in each half to Alex Brosque and substitute Matt McKay respectively were enough to secure victory after scores were locked 1-1 at the interval.
Looking for a win after drawing 1-1 with the Czech Republic in their opening game last Friday, the Young Socceroos got off to a perfect start when Alex Brosque opened the scoring after just 12 minutes. Carl Valeri picked up the ball in midfield, before threading a short pass through the defence for Brosque on the edge of the box who drew the goalkeeper and scored coolly from 12 yards.
The Australians nearly doubled their advantage just a few minutes later when Spase Dilevski’s cross from the right was knocked down by Brosque for Scott McDonald, who with his back to goal, latched onto an awkward bouncing ball but fired it narrowly wide.
With the Young Socceroos comfortably on top the Canadians suddenly struck on the half hour by with a goal created out of nothing. Atiba Hutchinson went on a short but mazy dribble before flicking inside to striker Iain Hume who scored with a perfectly struck low drive from 30 yards. The goal changed the flow of the game and for the remainder of the half Canada had the ascendency.
Canada seemed likely to score on two occasions in the dying minutes of the half. Firstly, the always lively Hume hit the bar with a stunning long range shot, then, with virtually the last play of the half, the same player looked likely to score as he found space in the penalty area but defender Michael Thwaite got a toe on the ball as the Canadian shaped to shoot.
Prior to that the Young Socceroos had attempts on goal from the edge of the box through Valeri and Vince Lia but it was the Canadians who clearly finished the stronger.
However just as happened against the Czech Republic, Australia started the second half brightly and with a goal to show for it.
Lia again was involved as the Australians grabbed what proved to be the winner nine minutes after the break. The South Melbourne midfielder provided a superb pass between several defenders for Brosque who ran into the box and laid the ball square for McKay who had come on at half time to shoot past the exposed goalkeeper.
Both teams continued to look dangerous going forward but were rarely able to fashion any real gilt-edged chances to score. When defender Alex Wilkinson snuffed out an attack with a last gasp block in injury time the Australians were finally able to confirm victory in a fast-paced game.
In the other Group C match Brazil and the Czech Republic drew 1-1.
The remaining Group C match for the Australians will be against Brazil on Thursday 4 December 5.45pm UAE time (12.45am Friday AET). All Group C matches are being played in the Rashid Stadium, Dubai.
The top two teams from each group plus the four best third placed teams from the six groups will qualify for the second round.
The 24-team tournament, which commenced last Wednesday, will conclude with the final on 19 December in Abu Dhabi.
Australia 2 (Alex Brosque 12′, Matt McKay 54′)
Canada 1 (Iain Hume 33′)
Australian Line-up: Nathan Coe, Spase Dilevski, Alex Wilkinson, David Tarka, Michael Thwaite, Mile Jedinak (Dustin Wells 74′), Carl Valeri, Vince Lia, Massimo Murdocca (Matthew McKay h/t), Alex Brosque, Scott McDonald (Michael Baird 59′)
Subs Not Used: Tom Willis (gk); Wayne Heath, Steve Pantelidis, Anthony Danze, Jonathan Richter, Jobe Wheelhouse
Yellow Cards: Alex Brosque 40′, David Tarka 56′, Carl Valeri 73′
Referee: Jong Chul Kwon (South Korea)
Official crowd: 8,200