Monday, October 18, 2010

DPR Korea 3-2 Australia: Aussie Under-19s produce promising display but then throw away Asian Under-19 final

Photo: North Korea players help Jong Il Gwan (No. 16) celebrate his hat-trick and winning goal [Photo courtesy of World Sports Group]

Australia threw away the final of the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 title this morning [Australia Eastern Summer Time] when they lost 3-2 to North Korea at the Zibo Sports Centre Stadium in China.

In the last minute of the match, goalkeeper Mark Birighitti dropped an easy cross straight to the feet of Jong Il Gwan, who chipped the ball into an empty net to complete his hat-trick and give his side the title.

Australia had trailed to a 10th-minute opener by Il Gwan, who picked the ball up in midfield after an Australian error, and beat three defenders before firing home from close range.

Australia fought back in style, with Matthew Leckie on the right and Tommy Oar on the left causing havoc in the North Korean rearguard with their scintillating runs and dangerous crosses.

The Australians were excellent and much more pleasing on the eye than the senior Socceroos and in the 19th minute they almost equalised when Mustafa Amini had a chance, but his effort flew over the bar.

The excellent Kerem Bulut equalised for Australia in the 25th minute when he headed home Oar’s precise left-wing cross.

Four minutes later, and with Australia displaying outstanding technique and team play, Bulut put them ahead. Oar made an amazing run down the inside-left channel and beat three defenders before having his shot blocked by the North Korea keeper. The ball fell perfectly for Bulut, who stroked it home.

But, instead of pressing home their advantage, Australia relaxed and gave away the initiative.

North Korea coach Yun Jong-su threw caution to the wind and, in a sign of desperation, brought on all three of his substitutes in the space of five minutes, between the 33rd and 38th minute marks.

The bold move paid off, however, as Il Gwan equalised two minutes before the interval. Australia again lost possession in midfield and Daniel Bowles allowed Il Gwan to race past him down the left and score from 11 metres with a shot that went under Dylan McGowan and bounced past Birighitti and into the net.

Australia should have regained the lead in the 68th minute when Oar played the ball wide to the right to set up Amini, but he somehow blazed wide.

In the 75th minute, Bulut should have hit the target from Oar’s left-wing cross, but the striker headed wide.

Two controversial substitutions by Australia coach Jan Versleijen then helped seal Australia’s fate.

In the 78th minute, he took off Terry Antonis and brought on Rhyan Grant, who could not do a thing right for the remainder of the match. A minute after coming on, his first pass conceded possession to North Korea, who mounted a dangerous attack that could have resulted in a goal.

With 9 minutes remaining, Versleijen replaced the hard-working goalscorer Bulut with Sunderland’s Matthew Fletcher and with that went any chance Australia might have had of taking the game into extra-time.

In the final minute came Birighitti’s fatal blunder and one of the two players in the game who had scored twice to set the match alight and were on for a hat-trick did just that. The other, of course, had departed the arena.

Earlier this year, the Matildas had won Australia’s first-ever international trophy by beating North Korea 3-2.

The Australian Under-19 men’s team were unable to repeat the performance against opponents from the same country, but they showed that several of their players who are active in Europe and the A-League may be worth a chance in Holger Osieck’s senior Socceroos.


Late Night Viewer said...

A really exciting and excellent match. The Young Socceroos looked so much better than the senior Socceroos with their team play. Oar and Bulut were outstanding and they, together with a couple of others including Leckie, would be worth a chance in the senior Socceroos. I do hope that Holger Osieck will consider them for the senior squad.

Anonymous said...

Where does Bulut play his club football??

Anonymous said...

That was a great game for the neutral. Unfortunately most of us who are reading this report aren't!!!

I was surprised about Versleijen substituting Bulut too. The latter looks to be a good prospect. His appearance certainly makes him conspicuous.


Anonymous said...

u/19 games are completley different standard than Senior Internationals but I'm sure we will see Leckie and Oar feature in the next Socceroos squads.

Walter said...

Anonymous 7.43am, he plays for Czech club FK Mlada Boleslav but was originally in the Sydney FC youth side and also with the AIS. Here is the Wikipedia entry for him:

"Bulut was signed to the youth team of Sydney FC from NSWIS in 2008 for the 2008-09 A-League National Youth League scoring his first goal in a 2-1 win against Adelaide United on October 11, 2008[1]. Bulut would only score three goals in the season before spending 2009 with the AIS. Bulut returned to Sydney for the 2009–10 A-League National Youth League season[1]. He was immediately picked up as one of the brightest and most talented players in Australia, and it was rumored early on that he would either be signed by Sydney FC to the senior team, but was also linked with clubs in Spain, and Turkey. He scored 13 goals in 27 appearances for the Youth Team, but Sydney failed to reach the finals. He immediately went on trial with several clubs in Europe, including FK Mladá Boleslav after recommendations from Sydney FC senior manager Vítězslav Lavička."

Anonymous said...

Ben Kantarovski was Australia's best player by far!
Cool. calm and collected in possesion, fantasic passing and imposing in defense. The new socceroos holding midfielder for me.

A leader on and off the pitch too, it is easy to see why he was given the captain's armband.

Kanta was head and shoulder above everyone.

Anonymous said...

Agree the performance was easy on the eye. There were mitigating circumstances though. Essentially the Koreans played a half press. This enabled Australia to be able to build up slowly from midfield and the team looked composed on a number of occasions.

Australia's 4-3-3 looked good and for the most part they controlled the game. Kantarovski distributed well and was able to play some superb eye of the needle passes, but he was afforded much more time on the ball than the senior Socceroos have been by Paraguuay, Slovenia, Poland etc, in the last few senior friendlies.

Sitting back, defending deeper and half pressing can always assist defenders to look good in building up from the back. What was pleasing was the ability of Australia to break down the Korean defence in the attacking third.

Bulut provided considerable off the ball movement. Leckie's pace was worrying the H Korean defence.
Oar was able to beat his two defenders on occasions too.

I think Australia deserved to win. They were the better side and controlled more of the game.

Casual Obsever

Anonymous said...

Craig Foster and Francis Awaritife praised the performance of the young Socceroos in this final compared to the under 20s foray at the last World Cup. I feel like on previous occasions they are sometimes impetuous and quick to comment. They don't place enough weighting on the nature of the opposition.

One thing to keep in mind is the quality of the opposition. North Korea is not of the same quality of some of the opponents of the last World Cup. Last night Australia had more time to play.

Young players are also becoming more familiar with Versleijen's Dutch system. Mark Birighitti claimed that Verseijen's predecessors were basically inept. He contended that Versleijen really taught them how to play possession football for the first time and that it was a lot more interesting for the players.

In the last World Cup the Australian juniors were making a statement about how football should be played. They just weren't as good on the execution against high calibre opposition.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11.40 am

Agree with you that Kantarovski was our best player. The Australian media didn't seem to agree with us though!!