Caira Plays Part in Young Socceroos Victory


Wanderers defender Reece Caira has overnight played a part in the Young Socceroos 1-nil victory over Qatar in their opening match at the U19 AFC Championship.

Wanderers defender Reece Caira has overnight played a part in the Young Socceroos 1-nil victory over Qatar in their opening match at the U19 AFC Championship.

Caira came on as a substitute in the 75th minute replacing Sydney FC’s Terry Antonis.

The only goal of the game in the 11th minute after Jackson Irvine played a through ball to Corey Gameiro who dribbled into the left side of the box. The Qatari goal keeper and captain, Muhannad Naim, came off his line to close Gameiro down, but Gameiro had the presence of mind to calmly lift his shot over the diving keepers legs and place the ball neatly into the goal inside the far post.

Soon afterwards Gameiro had a chance to double his tally but his shot hit the crossbar and went out of play.

Midway through the half Gameiro was in the action again, but on this occasion he was fouled just outside the box. Terry Antonis stepped up to take the free-kick which curled over the wall and seemed goal bound but Naim pulled over a fine diving save to deny the effort.

Later in the half, Qantas Young Socceroos goal keeper Paul Izzo was called into action on a number of occasions to clean up crosses and high balls which he did with a minimum of fuss.

The first minute of the second half again saw Gameiro again fouled just outside the box. Again Antonis stepped up to take the free-kick, but this time he drilled his shot to the right of the Qatar wall to the far post. Naim then pulled off another fine diving save to deny Antonis for a second time

Qatar came close to equalising in the 50th minute when Saleh Badr found some space on the right after evading Corey Brown only to see his shot hit the far left post and bounce away from goal.

The hot and humid conditions took their toll on the Qantas Young Socceroos just before the hour mark when Mustafa Amini went down with a leg cramp in the middle of the field which resulted in him being replaced by Jamie MacLaren.

In fact much of the latter stages of the second half were a stop-start affair with many fouls committed by both teams and more players feeling the effects of the oppressive conditions and also succumbing to cramps.

With five minutes of regulation time remaining Qatari substitute, Sultan Bakhit, had his team-s best chance to level the scores when he found himself on the end of a cross from Abdelkarim Hassan. Bakhit-s first-time volley just outside the Qantas Young Socceroos six-yard box sailed over the bar and didn-t trouble Izzo in the slightest.

After the match, Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon was pleased with his team-s first result of the tournament.

“We started the match very well and the goal was due to the way we dominated possession creating opportunities,” said Okon.

“We then created a number of other chances that could have extended our lead. The Qatar goalkeeper made a couple of outstanding saves that kept our lead to one goal at half time.

“In the second half Qatar was kicking long balls forward and it became a defensive battle that we handled very well. This was highlighted by the fact that they only had two possible scoring opportunities for the whole game.

“It was a tough game and it was hard to dominate the full ninety minutes. We like to play possession football and Qatar play a more direct style of football with long balls and that is how the second half eventuated.

“It is a good start to the tournament and we now turn our preparation to the next match in two days time against Syria,” concluded Okon.

The squad for the match was as follows:

1.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Joshua BRILLANTE, 4.Curtis GOOD (C), 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8.Terry ANTONIS (6.Reece CAIRA 75-), 11.Ryan EDWARDS, 14.Ryan WILLIAMS (9.Adam TAGGART 85-), 15.Jason GERIA, 16.Jackson IRVINE, 20.Mustafa AMINI (10.Jamie MACLAREN 61-) Substitutes Not Used: 3.Connor CHAPMAN, 12.Liam JACOB (gk), 13.Tom KING, 17.Hayden MORTON , 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 21.Mitchell OXBORROW, 22.David VRANKOVIC, 23.Travis COOPER