Seventh heaven for rampant Olyroos as A-Leagues talent star

The Olyroos showed no mercy in their opening 2024 AFC Under-23 Asian Cup qualifier, routing Laos 7-1 on Thursday (AEST).

A-Leagues talents were front and centre in the demolition, with Melbourne Victory’s Nishan Velupillay and Western United striker Noah Botic both bagging braces, while Central Coast Mariners star Alou Kuol and Lachlan Brook of Western Sydney Wanderers also scored.

Former Adelaide United midfielder Louis D’Arrigo – who just completed a move to Lechia Gdansk in Poland – was also on the scoresheet.

In order to qualify for the upcoming U23 Asian Cup in Qatar, Australia will need to finish as the group winner or as one of the four best second-placed teams among all 11 groups.

Next year’s Asian Cup doubles as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics, where the Olyroos will need to finish in the top three to automatically qualify.

Against Laos, the rampant Australians raced out to a 3-0 lead inside seven minutes.

Velupillay scored two goals in the first four minutes – first he headed home Brooke’s free-kick before he was on hand to side-foot D’Arrigo’s cutback two minutes later.

D’Arrigo went from provider to scorer in the seventh minute in a flying start by the Olyroos.

Laos managed to pull a goal back in sensational style five minutes later – an incredible free-kick leaving Perth Glory’s Cameron Cook with no chance.

Botic restored Australia’s three-goal cushion prior to half-time and he completed his brace within nine minutes of the second half resuming.

Macarthur FC’s Jake Holman teed up Brooke for the Olyroos’ sixth of the night and Kuol – who has re-joined Isuzu UTE A-League champions the Mariners – completed the rout 11 minutes from the end.

Next up for the Olyroos is a qualifier against Tajikistan on September 13 (AEST).