AUSTRALIA have won the 2010 AFF under-19 Championship thanks to a late goal from Melbourne Heart's Eli Babalj which secured a 1-0 victory over Thailand in the final in Ho Chi Minh City.
With the game scoreless and seemingly heading towards extra-time, Babalj swooped on an some sloppy Thai defending for the decisive goal on 81 minutes.
Australia, who lost to Thailand on penalties in the final a year ago, clinched their second AFF under-19 Championship in three years.
The Australians appeared the more likely early on in the contest with Mathew Leckie and Mustafa Amini having first-half chances saved by Thai keeper Wasan Narsuan.
Thailand's best chance arrived on 63 minutes but Pattana Sakjoho's shot was narrowly off target.
Then on 81 minutes, Babalj came to the fore, pouncing on Narsuan's failure to deal with a cross which created panic in the Thai defence with a poor clearance falling to the Melbourne Heart youngster who pounced for the winner.
"It would not be a final if it was an easy game," Australia coach JanVersleijen said after the match.
"And I must say that we were lucky to score the goal late in the game although we are happy to win the championship this year.
"I must thank the AFF, the VFF and also the sponsors for making this tournament possible. It is an important tournament for youth development."
Australia's campaign concludes as a success with three wins and a draw from four matches.
Australia 1 (Eli Babalj 81') defeated Thailand 0
Thong Nat Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Qantas Young Socceroos starting line-up: 1. Mark Birighitti (GK), 2. Nikola Stanojevic, 3. Brendan Hamill, 6. Benjamin Kantarovsk (c), 7. Mathew Leckie, 8. Steven Lustica (9. Eli Babalj 60'), 11. Benjamin Halloran (20. Ryan Edwards 85'), 13. Mustafa Amini (5. Kliment Taseski 82'), 14. Matthew Fletcher, 16. Daniel Bowles, 19. Dylan McGowan
Substitutes not used: 10. Christopher Bush, 12. Dimitrios Petratos, 15. Kamal Ibrahim, 17. Theodore Markelis, 18. Matthew Acton (GK).
Unavailable: Sam Gallagher (Suspended)