Australian U18s end campaign with 2-1 win against Norway

Max Caputo and Max Middleby both scored as Australia Under-18s closed out their FPF Sub-18 Tournament in Portugal with a 2-1 victory against Norway.

Trevor Morgan’s side, featuring 15 players from the A-Leagues, had impressed in their opening two fixtures – conceding a 90th-minute goal in a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to England, having pushed hosts Portugal in a 4-2 loss.

But Australia ended their Portuguese campaign on a winning note thanks to Melbourne City youngster Caputo and Central Coast Mariners’ Middleby.

The Australians broke the deadlock in the fourth minute courtesy of Caputo – the 17-year-old who scored his first Isuzu UTE A-League goal for three-time reigning premiers City in 2022-23. He is the youngest scorer in City’s history.

Norway tried to play out from the back but they were dispossessed just inside the halfway line as Australia capitalised with five swift passes ending in Caputo finding the back of the net, having been played through by Adelaide United’s Luka Jovanovic.

In nine seconds, the ball was in the net in a move the Australian footballing community has been wanting to see from the national teams for years.

The scores were level at half-time after Norway equalised through Benjamin Faraas two minutes prior to the interval.

Australia restored their lead – an advantage they would not relinquish – via Middleby with 20 minutes remaining.

Middleby – the son of former Socceroo and A-Leagues champion Robbie – won the ball inside the box, steadied himself and curled the ball into the far corner of the net.