10/1/2018 7:02:04 PM (GMT+3)

Australia struggle to beat Indonesia in AFC U16 quarterfinal

Australia struggle to beat Indonesia in AFC U16 quarterfinal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Australia came from behind to defeat Indonesia 3-2 to advance to the AFC U-16 Championship semifinals at the National Stadium on Monday.

Australia will meet Japan, who beat Oman 2-1 in Sunday’s quarterfinal, in the last four on Thursday.

The semifinal berth also means Australia have confirmed a place in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru, after having been eliminated at the group stage in the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship.

Australia could have had a dream start against Indonesia as Noah Botic’s surging run down the left in the first minute saw his cross finding Luke Duzel but the midfielder, with the goal at his mercy, saw his effort denied by the post.

Backed by a partisan crowd, Indonesia tried to calm their nerves but were unable to keep possession moving forward as Australia stayed disciplined at the back.

Duzel had another golden opportunity in the 10th minute following good build-up play, but his effort from close range was easily saved by Indonesia custodian Ernando Ari Sutaryadi.

Indonesia had their first look at goal in the 14th minute following Sutan Diego Armandoondriano’s free-kick from 30 metres which forced a save from Australian goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic.

Sutan Diego, however, made amends two minutes later,after finding space down the middle to fire a low drive into the bottom corner of the net.

Australia pushed for an equaliser and were almost rewarded when Joshua Varga zipped past defenders down the middle before releasing Ryan Teague who faced Ernando head on, but the Australian captain hesitated and was denied by the Indonesian shot-stopper.

Supriadi came close to doubling Indonesia’s lead in the 43rd minute when he picked up a rebound following Andre Oktaviansyah’s strike from close range but the midfielder wasted the opportunity. (Courtesy: AFC)