Young Roos Celebrate Silverware
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THE Young Socceroos are heading home from Thailand with the AFF U19 Championship after defeating Korea Republic 3-1 on penalties in the final overnight.
For the second time in the tournament, the sides couldn't find a goal during normal time and it was then decided to go straight to a shoot-out rather than play extra-time as the rain lashed down.
Australia displayed their nerve for the shoot-out while their opponents missed with their first three attempts.
The Young Socceroos' spot-kick heroes were Melbourne Victory's Sebastian Ryall, Newcastle Jet Jason Naidovski and and fellow Jet and Young Socceroos captain James Holland - all converting successfully.
Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was the hero for the Young Socceroos after making a number of fantastic saves during regulation time and three important saves during the penalty shoot-out.
The first half was an even affair with both teams creating chances but the goalkeepers at either end made a number of great saves. The Young Socceroos best chance came shortly after the half-hour mark when Mitch Nichols had his shot from inside the box well saved by the Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.
Torrential rain started after half-time and continued for the remainder of the match which severely restricted the number of scoring opportunities for either side.
Into extra-time and Nathan Elasi took the Young Socceroos first penalty, which was saved by Kim Seung-gyu.
Andrew Redmayne then saved the Koreans first penalty from Lee Chang-ho. Sebastian Ryall netted the Young Socceroos second penalty and Redmayne backed up with another fine save from Park Jong-woo’s attempt.
Jason Naidovski extended the lead when he netted and Redmayne again produced another fine save to deny Yang Jun-a's shot. Tahj Minniecon had the opportunity to seal the result but missed his attempt and Kim Jae-min converted for Korea.
Young Socceroos captain James Holland sealed the result when he converted his penalty to give his team a morale boosting victory in the lead-up to the AFC U19 Championships later this month.
Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was very happy with his team’s overall performance as he looks towards the next important tournament.
He said: “Every game we improved, the players had a better understanding of the combinations creating chances. It was pleasing to win the tournament.
“Now we have to prepare for the qualifiers and I can see improvement that will give us confidence leading into the qualifiers."
Earlier in the evening, China defeated Thailand 3-0, In the play-off for third place.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will focus their attention to the AFC U19 Youth Championships which will be held in Saudi Arabia from the 31 October – 14 November 2008. The top four nations from the AFC U19 Youth Championships will qualify for the FIFA U20 World Cup which will be held in Egypt from 10-31 July 2009.
Team: Andrew Redmayne, Sebastian Ryall, Sam Munro (Nathan Elasi 68), Matthew Jurman, Tahj Minniecon, James Holland (C), Milos Lujic (Jason Naidovski 75), Mitch Nichols (James Brown 35), Nikolas Tsattalios, Tom Oar, Ryan McGowan.