The Young Socceroos qualified for the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship after a commanding 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung on Sunday night AEDT.
John Roberts struck twice while further goals from Lachlan Brook, an own goal from Karl Hu Josefsson and Marco Tilio’s fourth of the competition rounded off a resounding victory.
Laos registered a comfortable 6-0 win over Macau earlier in the day which meant Australia needed to win by at least two goals to finish atop of Group H, and they started the game the way they intended to go on scoring within the first two minutes of play.
A rash challenge from Josefsson on John Roberts earned the Young Socceroos an early free-kick which Brook stepped up to dispatch into the roof of the net from just outside the box.
After the positive start, the Young Socceroos pressed on and almost doubled their advantage soon after, as Roberts rounded the goalkeeper and was certain to score if not for a sliding challenge from Liang Meng-Sin which kept Roberts off the scoresheet.
But that wasn’t to last long. Only minutes later, Roberts found the back of the net after Louis D’Arrigo’s shot was deflected by Chinese Taipei ‘keeper Hung Shih-Cheng right into Roberts’ path, who slid in to poke the ball home from close range.
Australia were well on top and in control and added a third on the half-hour mark when Josefsson scored an unfortunate own goal, lobbing Shih-Cheng in the Chinese Taipei goal with a header from long distance while trying to battle Roberts for an aerial ball.
The Young Socceroos scored their fourth goal of the game early in the second half through Tilio, who nicked Meng-Sin of possession in attack, squared up with Shih-Cheng and rolled it under the out-rushing goalkeeper into the back of the net.
The chances continued to flow for Australia as Tilio and D’Arrigo fashioned multiple scoring opportunities but it was Roberts who eventually made it five for Australia, heading home a corner from Alberto Grosso to score his second of the game.
Kai Calderbank-Park had a very quiet night in the Young Socceroos’ goal but burst into action with ten minutes to play, making a stunning double save from one long-range shot and one from much closer on the rebound, ensuring Australia kept their clean sheet intact.
Australia held their 5-0 advantage to the final whistle which sent them atop of Group H with 7 points and a superior goal difference over Laos, guaranteeing their place at the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship in Uzbekistan, October 2020.