Thu, Jun


Under 20 line up before Australia game (Photo: Shaun Fuentes).Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 footballers pulled a goal back with nine minutes remaining but could not force the equalizing goal which would have given them a more than deserving draw with Australia in Thursday’s warm up encounter at the Ayia Napa Stadium in Cyprus.

Instead goals in the 6th minute, an unfortunate own goal by Jamal Gay and a 45th minute free kick strike by Aaron Mooy gave the “Aussies” a 2-1 victory as both teams continued their build up for the upcoming FIFA Under 20 World Championship in Egypt.

The Young “Soca Warriors” with debutant Jake Thomson in a wide right position,  started slowly and were placed on the backfoot from early following a very unusual goal. An attempted clearance to a cross by Mooy ricocheted off Gay’s right boot, went airborne, spinning back on to the goal and over a hapless Glenroy Samuel on the goal line.

The early setback did T&T no favours as Samuel had to come up big six minutes later to save Mooy’s powerful low effort as he followed up on James Holland’s crack which bounced off the upright.

T&T began to get into their own around the 20th minute with front men Khaleem Hyland and Jamal Gay combining with skipper Leston Paul to try and make something happen in attack. Thomson was solid on the right but had little room to make much happen going forward.

It was not until the 42nd minute that Australian goalie Andrew Redmayne had to make a save. This was after Hyland forced his way near to goal on the right of the six yard box before his attempt was cleared and fell for an unmarked Sean De Silva atop the area but his feeble effort was taken up by the goalie.

Then Mooy punished T&T for poor defensive setting up when he curled a free kick home with his right foot  from the left corner of the box in injury time.

Moments after half time Mooy had Samuel sprawling to his right to push one around the post. Four minutes later though, T&T started their assault as Paul saw his drive from the edge of the box kept out by Redmayne.

Vranes made nine changes midway through the second half and it was almost all T&T from there on. Midfielder Kevin Molino, one of the substitutes, was a promising sight as his creativity and sharpness opened up the Australian back line on several occasions in the remaining minutes.

Gay was sent off in the 63rd for dissent but incoming forward Clarence made up for his loss. There was an agreement by both teams that neither would play a man short.

Paul and Rochford forced Redmayne into action in close succession and substitute Marcus Joseph also tested the custodian following good service by Molino as the minutes ticked on.

T&T deservedly got their goal in the 81st when Marcus Manswell played one in from the right and Clarence sneaked in to hit home on the near post.

T&T continued to press in the remaining minutes but the “Aussies” resilience paid off at the end of the ninety minutes.

“We conceded two easy goals and one of them was very unusual. But generally I was satisfied because we came back very well in the second half,” Vranes told TTFF Media.

“What we were missing was games against top opponents and getting this now is serving us very well. We competed nicely today and it’s all in preparation for Egypt.

I hope we can get another good encounter against the United States and it can push us even further in getting ready for the big stage,” he added. T&T will face the United States from 5pm on Friday.

T&T start team: 1.Glenroy Samuel; 5.Akeem Adams (2.Aubrey David 46th); 6.Leston Paul; 11.Khaleem Hyland; 8.Sean De Silva; 12. Robert Primus; 9.Jamal Gay;14.Jean Luc Rochford; 15.Uriah Bentick; 18.Jake Thomson; 19.Daneil Cyrus.

Players on in the 63rd – Andre Marchan, Qian Grosvenor, Kevin Molino, Marcus Joseph, Juma Clarence, Marvin Manswell, Curtis Gonzales, Mekeil Williams, Sheldon Bateau.

Qantas Young Socceroos commence tour in style.

The Qantas Young Socceroos kicked off their preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt with a hard-fought 2-1 win over a physical Trinidad and Tobago in Cyprus last night (Friday morning AEST).

Aaron Mooy was involved in both goals at the Agia Napa Municipality Stadium, scoring the second himself after whipping in a corner for the first, which found that back of the net via a Trinidad and Tobago player.

They took just six minutes to get off the mark, although they were aided when Tobagan defender Jamal Gay sliced his clearance from Mooy’s corner, which goal keeper Glenroy Samuel subsequently failed to deal with and the ball ended up in his net.

The second came in first half stoppage time when winger Thomas Oar won a free kick on the edge of the area. Aware that Samuel was anticipating a cross and standing off his line ever so slightly, Mooy curled a clever free kick just inside the near post to make it 2-0.

Mooy was a persistent danger from set pieces while James Holland hit the post and Jason Hoffman had a goal ruled offside late in the game.

Coach Jan Versleijen took the unusual step of making just one substitution, taking precaution with right back Daniel Mullen who came off with hamstring tightness.

On the other hand, Trinidad and Tobago made nine second half changes and the fresh legs put the Australians under pressure in every sense, racking up five bookings by the end of the match.

Substitute Juma Clarence made the most of a clever cross and left keeper Andrew Redmayne with no chance in the 82nd minute to score a consolation.

But the Qantas Young Socceroos dug deep to hold out and Versleijen believes his strategy of giving as many players as possible a full match will help them acclimatise to the stifling conditions expected in Egypt.

"Normally I would make changes also but because we're playing three games I've decided to give each player a full 90 minutes, unless there is an injury of course," Versleijen said.

"It's a kind of overload, instead of training you play 90 minutes and the boys are very tired but that’s not a problem, it's part of the preparation and we have enough time to reach the desired physical level."

Versleijen was pleased to start the tour with a win, although he knows plenty of improvement is required before the Qantas Young Socceroos kick off their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign against Czech Republic on 27 September.

"Their keeper made a few mistakes, but it’s always good to win, doesn’t matter how," he said.

"At this stage of the camp I’m not happy with where they’re at physically, but I knew when they were coming that some would struggle because they weren’t getting many playing minutes with their clubs."

"But we have time to bring those players up to the required level, both physically and tactically."

"The biggest positive was that everybody pretty much got through the 90 minutes and we got a chance to see what things we need to improve on."

"The first half in patches we did well but we didn’t take advantage of our extra player in the midfield and sometimes we panicked in the attacking third and rushed things."

"In the second half we dropped too deep and if you do that you’re asking for trouble. Also, we need to strike a better balance at times like when we want to keep the ball or make a fast counter attack."

"Some of our players had some problems physically because some still have jetlag and that woke us up a little."

“I was also a bit disappointed we didn’t match Trinidad and Tobago when they applied physical pressure on us."

"But we can learn from all of these things.’’

The Qantas Young Socceroos are likely to field almost an entirely different line up when they tackle England on 19 September, after Versleijen revealed that he wants to give every player at least 90 minutes to prove themselves prior to the tournament.

Their third and final friendly is against the USA a day later, before the squad departs for Egypt.

"At this stage it’s not important who we play, it’s how we perform," Versleijen said.

“But the USA are more experienced and better organised, it will be a more difficult game and I expect the England game to be an even higher level, so they’ll both be more challenging."

Australia Squad From

1.Andrew Redmayne (Central Coast Mariners), 21.Alex Cisak (Leicester City/ENG), 18.Dean Bouzanis (Liverpool/ENG); 2.Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United), 3.Luke DeVere (Brisbane Roar), 4.Ryan McGowan (Hearts/SCO), 5.Matthew Jurman (Sydney FC), 6.James Holland (AZ Alkmaar/NED), 7.Tahj Minniecon (Gold Coast United), 8.Aaron Mooy (Bolton/ENG), 9.Jason Hoffman (Newcastle Jets), 10.Mitch Nichols (Brisbane Roar), 11.Thomas Oar (Brisbane Roar), 12.Nathan Elasi (Melbourne Victory), 13.Chris Herd (Aston Villa/ENG), 14.Kofi Danning (Sydney FC), 15.Sam Munro (Sydney FC), 16.Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets), 17.Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), 19.Sean Rooney (Newcastle Jets), 20.Sam Gallagher (Sydney FC).