Terry Antonis Captains Aussies To Victory

Sydney FC star Terry Antonis has led Australia to a 1-0 win over host nation Indonesia in front of a crowd of 45,500 in their opening match of the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers played in Pekanbaru.

Sydney FC star Terry Antonis has led Australia to a 1-0 win over host nation Indonesia in front of a crowd of 45,500 in their opening match of the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers played in Pekanbaru.

Antonis was given the honour of captaining Australia for the first time and was a stand out in the victory, sealed by an Anthony Proia goal just before half time.

Fellow Sydney FC youngster Daniel Petkovski also played a part. Coming off the bench in the 81st minute as Australia hung onto its one-goal lead.

The Australians did very well to win the opening game, considering they are playing against players 2-3 years their senior, as Coach Paul Okon is using the U-22 tournament to give the Young Socceroos (U-20s) valuable international experience.

The Qantas Young Socceroos dominated possession for the opening 15 minutes and created a couple of opportunities but were unable to convert.

Midway through the half AIS youngster Ben Garuccio made a run down the left, and crossed into the box for Brisbane's Proia who was unable to finish cleanly.

The Indonesians began to get more possession as the match progressed and were dangerous on the break. They forced the Qantas Young Socceroos defenders to work hard and forced goal keeper Nick Munro into making a couple of great saves.

Deep into additional time of the first half, a corner from Garrucio was put to the far post, which was met perfectly by Proia who headed home to give the Qantas Young Socceroos the lead going into the break.

The second half was a hard slog for both teams as the heat and humidity took its toll. The Indonesians put a lot of pressure on in the final 15 minutes with a number of dangerous shots on goal, but some great defending and goalkeeping from SA State League keeper Nick Munro allowed the Qantas Young Socceroos to hold on for an important opening win.

Speaking after the match, Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon was very happy with his team-s opening result of the tournament

“It was a great performance in difficult conditions against a good opponent in front of a huge home crowd. It was also a fantastic experience for our players to play in front a parochial full stadium,” said Okon.

“The players played some very good football and we probably could have got a few more goals. The Indonesian team are a very good team and we were playing against players 2-3 years older.

“We now turn our focus to the next game and are looking to build on this result and put in another solid performance,” concluded Okon.

In the other matches Japan beat Macau 6-0 and Singapore defeated Timor Leste 2-1.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their next match against Macau on Saturday 7 July followed by matches against Singapore (10 July), Timor Leste (12 July) and Japan (15 July).

The top two teams from Group E and the best third placed team of all groups (total 15) will then progress to the AFC U-22 Championship which will be played in January 2014.

Qantas Young Socceroos 1 (Anthony Proia 45+2-) d Indonesia 0 Riau Main Stadium, Penkabaru, Indonesia

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