Australia exited the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 yesterday with Tony Vidmar’s side failing once again to find the back of the net as the Olyroos shared a 0-0 draw with group winners Qatar to limp out of the tournament and miss out on a place at the Olympic Games.
The Australians had arrived in Doha targeting a second consecutive Olympic qualification after appearing in Tokyo three years ago, but one point from their opening Group A games against Jordan and Indonesia left their hopes hanging by the finest of threads.
Needing to win and hope Jordan defeated Indonesia, the result at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium was academic with Indonesia’s 4-1 win ensuring Vidmar’s team could not progress even if a first victory of the competition had been secured.
Qatar had already ensured their progress with back-to-back wins to start the tournament and when Mohamed Manai flicked his attempt towards goal in the fourth minute it appeared that Ilidio Vale’s side were in the mood to pick up a third win.
Manai went closer still from distance in the 13th minute, curling his effort narrowly over the crossbar. But as the half wore on it was the Australians who looked the more likely to score as they increasingly dictating the tempo and dominated possession.
Jacob Italiano powered through midfield from deep before laying possession off to Rhys Youlley, whose low right-foot shot was steered around the post by Ali Korayem. Four minutes later Jacob Farrell’s inviting ball across the six-yard box caught Jordan Courtney-Perkins and Mohamed Toure flat-footed while at the other end Ryan Teague stepped in to dispossess Lotfu Madjer as the home side made a rare foray forward.
Italiano then wastefully fired over the bar with two minutes left in the half after Brook’s pass found the winger in space behind the Qatar defence before, in injury time, the captain delivered a cross from the right that Nicolas Milanovic headed across the face of goal.
The Australians continued to dominate after the break, Brook bending his effort over the bar while Alexandar Popovic’s defensive header redirected Mahdi Salem al-Mejaba’s shot to safety. Brook again went close soon after, side-footing high over the Qatar goal.As the half wore on the Olyroos continued to be frustrated, never more than when Keegan Jelicic’s 75th minute attempt was pushed onto the post by a diving Korayem.
That was as close as Vidmar’s side would come to a goal and the result means Australia head home frustrated.
Indonesia’s adventure continues
A standout performance from Marselino Ferdinan helped Indonesia march into the knockout stage of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 yesterday after a superb 4-1 victory against Jordan at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.
Having already collected their first ever win three days ago against Australia, the tournament debutants ensured that their dream run would continue in the quarter-finals by sealing progress from Group A in second place behind Qatar.Needing only a point to confirm their place in the last eight heading into this game, the red shirts of Indonesia signalled their intent by pouring forward from the get-go in front of a partisan crowd of 5,632. Leading the line, Rafael Struick was in the thick of the action early on and after testing Jordan goalkeeper Ahmad Juaidi twice in the fourth and 11th minutes, played a key role in the opening goal after being fouled by Amer Jamous in the box.
Marselino, scorer of Indonesia’s first goal at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 just over three months ago and one of nine in this U-23 side that were in their squad at Asia’s crown jewel, stepped up to coolly send Juaidi the wrong way and find the bottom left corner in the 23rd minute.
That was the start of a man-of-the-match display from the KMSK Deinze attacker, who went on to play a part in the second goal and added the third.
For their part, Jordan struggled to test Ernando Ari in the Indonesian goal despite requiring nothing less than victory to avoid an early flight home, with Aref Haitham’s scuffed effort in the ninth minute their only shot on target in the first half. Indonesia were far more prolific and their lead was doubled in the 40th minute. Marselino drove at the Jordan defence before finding captain Rizky Ridho at the top of the box, whose deft first-time pass was caressed by Witan Sulaeman’s left foot into the far left corner.
The third goal, in the 70th minute, was arguably even more pleasing on the eyes. Having played a one-two with Witan, Marselino finished off the move with a delightful touch past the onrushing Juaidi for his second of the night.
To their credit, Jordan refused to give up and after Ibrahim Sabra had fluffed his lines from close range in the 66th minute, they pulled one back when Waseem Alriyalat’s shot from range was deflected past Ernando by Justin Hubner on 79 minutes.
But Indonesia were not done yet and their three-goal advantage was restored seven minutes later. Pratama Arhan’s trademark long throws finally reaped dividends as his bullet delivery from the left was nodded in by Komang Teguh, who came off the bench to notch his second goal in as many games.
•the-afc.com