2002 OFC U-20 Qualifiers

Australia through to OFC U-20 final playoff

Monday, December 09th 2002 17:42

OFC release - 9/12/02
Australia has won Group A of the OFC U-20 Qualifying Tournament after a convincing 6-0 victory over a plucky Papua New Guinea team at Korman Stadium, Port Vila today. Australia also beat Vanuatu 2-0 in their first round match to give them an undefeated record in the abbreviated Group A competition.
They will now await the winner of Group B who they play in a home and away playoff on 19 and 22 December to decide Oceania’s representative at the 2003 World Youth Championship in UAE.
Papua New Guinea put up a good fight in the first half and was perhaps a little unlucky to be two goals in arrears at half-time after an own goal in the tenth minute. PNG defender Sam Lepani was the unwilling offender on that occasion heading the ball back into his own net from an Australian corner kick.
PNG continued to repel more attacking raids on their goal, thwarting several shots on goal. But the Australian’s were not to be denied and English based striker and captain, Scott McDonald, stroked home goal number two ten minutes from half-time to give the Young Socceroos a comfortable 2-0 cushion at the break.
McDonald’s goal, his second in two matches, came from a wonderful curling kick, outside of the box. He is proving to be the class act so far in the Group A competition and is showing all the experience you would expect from someone who plays top level professional football in England for Southampton, and who was an integral part of the Young Socceroos successful World Championship qualifying campaign last year.
And he extended that endorsement in the second half scoring two more goals to collect his hat-trick. Team-mate Alex Brosque played a hand in both of McDonald’s second half efforts.
Replacement Vince Lea also got on the scorecard courtesy of another mail order pass from Brosque. Brosque himself was rewarded for his good all-round game just minutes later when he scored the final goal of the game, albeit a penalty after he was fouled in the area.
The match was played before a disappointing crowd of approximately 200 people, who were vocal throughout in support of their Melanesian neighbours. The PNG U-20 team played with a warrior spirit but in the end were outclassed by the vastly experienced Australians.
The last Group A match will be formality between Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea on Wednesday 11 December, and will decide the second and third place-getters in the group.

(Peter Rees)