THE Qantas Joeys have defeated Thailand 2-0 in their opening match of the AFC U-16 Championship 2012 in Tehran courtesy of first-half goals to Taylor Tombides and Josh MacDonald.
Daniel De Silva signalled the Joeys intentions in just the fourth minute of the match when he pinched the ball from the Thailand defenders and dribbled into the box and then played a square ball to Alex Gersbach whose sneaky flick hit the far post and was regathered by the Thailand goalkeeper Apirak Worawong.
In the 12th minute MacDonald picked up the ball from Hyuga Tanner, headed towards goal, beat the first defender and dribbled into the Thai penalty box.Thai defender Jutitep Tonglim tried to close down MacDonald, but as the Joey cut back inside the Thai defender clipped his heels and conceded a penalty in the process.
Taylor Tombides stepped up to the spot and sent Worawong to the left as the ball rocketed into the bottom right corner.
The lead was doubled just before the half hour mark following some good build up play down the left hand side.
Playing out from the back, Tanner played the ball to De Silva at the top of the box who beat his defender and then passed to MacDonald. MacDonald controlled with his first touch and then made no mistake finding the back of the net with a powerful drive.
The second half saw the Joeys continue to dominate proceedings and create a few more chances with Gersbach coming closest to putting the game beyond doubt.
The Thais barely threatened the Joeys' goal as the Australian defence held strong and quickly defused any counter attacks.
Thailand’s best chance came late in the game when Puangbut Saran’s long range shot hit the cross bar.
After the match, Joeys coach was very pleased with the result and his team’s and performance in the opening match of the tournament.
"Thoroughly professional first up performance by the boys, the first 45 minutes especially was top class,” said Edwards.
"We had a number of opportunities to kill the game but some desperate defending from the Thais kept things interesting up until the final whistle.
"Their coach was very complimentary on how we approached the game and on the whole we are satisfied with not only the three points but the way in which we created quality opportunities, controlled large parts of the game and when called upon defended superbly.
"We stayed back and watched an excellent Oman v Iraq game this evening and as expected, the standard of both these teams is very high.
"We will now switch our focus to Oman and look to build on the positive start to the competition, from what we have seen today we will again enjoy the lion’s share of possession and this is something that we have prepared specifically for, they have a Dutch coach so we are looking forward to another intriguing tactical battle."
In the other group B match Iraq defeated Oman 2-1. The Joeys will meet Oman in their next group B match on Monday September 24 with their last group match against Iraq on Wednesday September 26.
The top two teams from each group of the AFC U-16 Championship 2012 will progress to the knockout stage (quarter-finals) and the four winners of the quarter-finals will then play in the semi-finals with the winners advancing to the final.
The semi-finalists will also automatically qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in late 2013.
Australia 2 (Taylor Tombides 14’ (pen), Josh MacDonald 29’)
Qantas Joeys Line-up: 1.Andre JANNESE (gk) ,3.Aaron CALVER ,4.Jack IREDALE ,5.James BALDACCHINO (C) ,8.Kevin LY ,9.Joshua MACDONALD ,10.Daniel DE SILVA ,11.Alex GERSBACH ,13.Rocco PIZZATA ,19.Taylor TOMBIDES (22.Todd NORRIS 75’),20.Hyuga TANNER (23.Lukas STERGIOU 69’)
Substitutes Not Used: 2.Darcy MADDEN,6.Liam ROSE,7.Steve KUZMANOVSKI,12.Jordan THURTELL (gk),14.Matthew STEWART,15.Matthew SCHMIDT,16.Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS,17.Bai ANTONIOU,18.Lucas SPINELLA (gk),21.Jordan PUDLER
Yellow Cards: Josh MacDonald 9’, Hyuga Tanner 39’
Thailand Line-up: 1.Apirak WORAWONG (gk), 4.Rachen SOBUNMA, 5.Jeerawut KULCHART, 7.Saran PUANGBUT, 8.Amnart PAMORNPRASERT (C), 9.Sittichok KANNOO, 10.Atthawit SUKCHUAI, 11.Suchanon MALISON (17.Chavarit BUNTEE 83’), 14.Suradet KLANKHAM (15.SHINNAPHAT 64’), 22.Kunawut MAPERM, 23.Jutitep TONGLIM
Substitutes Not Used: 2.Wiritpol CHANOKKAWINKUL , 3.Supravee MIPRATHANG, 6.Gidtiphong SIRISAENG, 12.SATTAYA, 13.PEERANAT, 16.KORRAPHAT (gk),, 18.Siwapong PHANKAEO (gk), 19.Techaton SEEHAWONG, 21.Sorawit PANTHONG
Yellow Cards: Shinnaphat 71’, Amnart Pamornprasert 90+2’