With a 1-0 victory over the reigning AFF U18 Championship champions Malaysia, the Young Socceroos won their first trophy under Gary van Egmond. They also won the 2019 Championship.
Lachlan Brook of Adelaide United, who scored Australia’s winning goal in the 80th minute by smashing a shot past the replacement goalie, was the player who made the difference between the two teams.
The goal came toward the end of a second period in which Australia’s youth was under extreme pressure from Brad Maloney’s former football team as they attempted to win back-to-back championships.
Success to be continued
The Young Socceroos’ attention will now shift to November, when they will depart for Taiwan to compete in AFC U19 Championship qualifying against the host country, Macau, and Laos.
The team will advance to the 2020 AFC U19 Championship, which will act as qualification for the 2021 World Cup if they win that group or place among the four best runners-up.
The early going in the final favors Van Egmond’s team, with Marco Tilio showcasing the group’s talent in the tenth minute when he turned around a challenge and fired a ball into the box, but there weren’t many players wearing an Australia jersey there to meet it.
Unfortunately for the Australian attacker, his subsequent effort was directed directly at Sikh Izhan Nazrel bin Sikh Azman of Malaysia.
The Malaysians were compelled to seek to hit their opponents on the counter in their infrequent forays forward; these were the two greatest opportunities in which Australia had almost total control of the flow of football play.
Later, when Tilio cut inside and played a deft one-two with the former to go past the defense and burst in on goal. Tilio was only stopped from attempting a shot by a last-second sliding challenge from a defender.
In the end, Malaysia had optimism as Hakim Shamsudin won a free kick on the right edge of the box in the 95th minute, but Ajmal Mahadi’s ensuing curling attempt went direct at Calderbank-Park and headed away.