The Young Socceroos claimed a comprehensive 6-0 win over the Philippines in their AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers opener in Laos on Friday night.
Paul Okon’s side jumped to a comfortable 4-0 lead at the break, adding two more goals in the second stanza in humid conditions at the National Sports Complex Stadium.
Nicholas D’Agostino opened the scoring on eight minutes when Liam Youlley provided a ball over the top, the Brisbane Roar youngster making no mistake in front of goal.
Steve Kuzmanovski doubled the advantage shortly after following some controlled build up play. The Melbourne City recruit received the ball wide at the top of the box where he beat a defender before driving his shot into the back of the net.
Adelaide United’s attacking midfielder George Mells was next on the scoresheet when Youlley again turned provider, spotting Mells’ run from deep and meeting a perfectly weighted ball with a fine header.
Kuzmanovski scored his second before the interval when D’Agostino slipped the ball through and the forward found the back of the net with an assured finish.
There was no shortage of second half scoring opporunities but it took the Young Socceroos until the 78th minute through Alusine Fofanah to extend their lead. The Wanderers’ livewire beat two Filipino defenders before driving a shot past the Philippines goalkeeper.
Substitute Dejan Pandurevic completd the scoring in injury-time when he latched onto a cut back from Kuzmanovski, rounding out a convincing victory for the Aussies.
Coach Paul Okon was pleased with his side’s display but warned they’d have to be more clinical in front of goal with tougher matches to follow.
“It was a good result and performance, but it was dissapointing not being able to score more goals from the opportunities created throughout the match,” Okon told socceroos.com.au after the match.
“We now focus on our next opposition, the host nation Laos, where we will need to perform again.”
The ten group winners and five best second-placed teams at the tournament will qualify for next year’s finals, while hosts Bahrain receive automatic qualification.
The top four teams from the AFC U-19 Championship then qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 in the Korea Republic.
The Young Socceroos will next play Laos on Sunday before a huge clash against fellow Asian heavyweights Japan on Tuesday 6 October.
Japan claimed a 2-0 win over Laos in the night’s other Group J match.
Australia 6 (D’Agostino 8′, Kuzmanovski 14′, 39′, Mells 28′, Fofanah 78′, Pandurevic 90+1′)