Qantas Under 23's go down to Nigeria
The Qantas Under 23’s have lost the final of the Intercontinental Cup, 2-0 against Nigeria in Kuala Lumpur overnight.
The Qantas Under 23-s have lost the final of the Intercontinental Cup, 2-0 against Nigeria in Kuala Lumpur overnight.
Fielding under-strength team with the withdrawal of Mark Milligan due to illness, the Olyroos had their chances, but a goal in each half saw Nigeria, who will also be at the 2008 Olympic Games in China, get the win.
Despite the loss, coach Graham Arnold hailed the tournament a success and has given him much food for thought in the selection of his final squad for the Olympics.
“It was a great tournament,” said Arnold after the game. I learnt a lot about the players and their ability to perform and backup in these conditions and they performed excellently.
“Tonight we were far the better team for the majority of the game but didn't take our chances.
“I am very positive looking forward, he added. “These players have given me a selection headache for Beijing. Before this tournament I had 12/13 penciled in for spots for the Olympics but after this tournament I now only have 4.”
Australia could easily have taken the lead after just three minutes, when a free kick by Vidosic, created a flurry of activity inside box, with Nikita Rukavytsa-s shot just over the crossbar.
But four minutes later, Nigeria too the lead when Bernard Okorowanta shot hit the post and went in.
Tarek Elrich then came to Australia-s rescue two minutes later, clearing off the line following a Nigerian corner.
Dario Vidosic went close to getting an equaliser for Australia right on half time, when he headed Rukavytsa-s cross just wide.
Semi final hat-trick hero Matt Simon went close ten minutes after the break, turning his defender and shooting just wide.
Nigeria-s match-winner came with five minutes remaining when Emmanuel Sarki scored directly from a corner, he inswinging cross somehow eluding Simon at the near post.
Australia 0 Nigeria 2
Starting line up: Tando Velaphi, Adrian Leijer (Michael Zullo 75-), Trent McClenahan, Aaron Downes, Dario Vidosic (Nigel Boogaard 86-), Ruben Zadkovich (James Hoffman 41-), Matt Simon, Tarek Elrich, Nikita Rukavysta, Stuart Musialik, Spase Dilevski Subs Not Used: Dean Bouzanis (gk), Adam D-Apuzzo, Unavailable: Mark Milligan (ill, was not on bench)
Referee: Mr Krishnan Ramachandran (Malaysia)