Blunt Olyroos suffer calamitous loss in Paris qualifier

Ian Chadband
2 Min Read
Australia suffered a shock loss to Indonesia in their AFC U23 Asian Cup Group D match.
Australia suffered a shock loss to Indonesia in their AFC U23 Asian Cup Group D match. Credit: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

The Olyroos’ dream of making it to the Paris Olympics has suffered a grievous blow as Australia’s young soccer hopefuls crashed to a woeful 1-0 defeat at the hands of Indonesia in qualifying in Qatar.

Still unable to score a single goal after 180 minutes in the men’s U23 Asian Cup, coach Tony Vidmar’s outfit may have suffered a terminal blow after Indonesian Komang Teguh netted the goal just before halftime on Thursday (Friday AEST) that gave the tournament debutants a shock win in Doha.

The nightmare scenario for the dominant Australians at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium unfolded after 20-year-old Socceroo Mohamed Toure had his 25th-minute penalty saved by Indonesia’s diving hero Ernando Ari Sutaryadi.

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It’s left the blunt Olyroos with just one point from their two games and the grim prospect of not even reaching the knockout stages of an event in which they have to finish third to guarantee a place in Paris.

Qatar won their later game on Thursday 2-1 against Jordan to guarantee qualification for the knockouts with a maximum six points, and Vidmar’s side must now beat the hosts on Sunday (Monday morning AEST) to give themselves any slim chance of getting through.

But having drawn against Jordan 0-0 in their opening match, the Olyroos’ fate is out of their hands, with their Paris ambitions over if Singapore beat Jordan.

The Olyroos’ much-vaunted attacking quality, with Garang Kuol, Alou Kuol and Toure up front, once again failed to materialise as only four of their 16 attempts on goal found the target.

Meanwhile, Komang’s close-range headed goal was Singapore’s only effort on target in four attempts.

The nearest Australia came to scoring was when Toure, moments after his penalty miss, almost made amends by heading against the bar from a corner.

World Cup hero Garang Kuol came on as part of a triple substitution in the 75th minute with Vidmar getting ever more desperate, but even with 11 minutes of time added on, his side still couldn’t break down some stubborn defending.

The other game ended dramatically, with Qatar’s Mohamed Manai heading home the winner in the 13th minute of added time, after which, absurdly, another six minutes was spent by VAR deliberating whether the goal should stand.

It did - and it is a goal that could spell curtains for the Olyroos’ hopes of joining their Matildas counterparts at the July/August Games in France.


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