A clinical second half performance from the Young Socceroos has given them 3-0 victory over the WA State team in the opening Tri-Series 2017 game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Wednesday night.
The WA side had the better of the first half creating a number of strong chances, but after half time the Young Socceroos took control with goals from Western Sydney Wanderers duo Moudi Najjer and Oliver Puflett, and Melbourne Victory’s Nicholas Sette.
Young Socceroos coach Ufuk Talay said it was great preparation for his squad, ahead of their upcoming AFC under 19 Championship Qualifiers.
“It was a good second half and a good workout for us, and I’d like to thank Football West for hosting us here, so far it’s been fantastic,” he said.
“We changed the side at half time to have a look at some players and to give everyone a run and we’ve identified a few players ahead of our qualifiers.
“At the end of the day the result doesn’t matter, it’s more about the performance, and it was a good opportunity for players to get some game time.”
WA Coach Ramon Falzon said after a bright first half it was a disappointing result, but he was impressed with the young opposition.
“I thought in the first half we played quite well and created a couple of good chances, which we didn’t take, but the second half was tough,” he said.
“But credit to them, they are a very good side, and they got in behind us in the second half and caused as all sorts of problems.
“We realise they are a national side and we wish them luck in the up-coming qualifiers, and we move on to Singapore next Tuesday.”
WA were on the front foot early and skipper Gordon Smith was denied by Sydney FC keeper Duro Dragicevic after only two minutes, before Daryl Nicol’s glancing header was saved by Dragicevic.
The PS4 NPLWA’s top goalscorer Alex Salmon then saw his curling shot flash wide, before Gian Albano’s shot on the run drifted over the top.
The Young Socceroos settled and Sebastian Pasquali’s long-range shot fizzed wide, before Giordano Marafioti wriggled into the box, but his shot flashed inches wide of the post.
It was a completely new Young Socceroos line up in the second half and they started to get on top, before WA keeper James Morgan produced a finger-tip save to deny them early.
Morgan was working overtime, and he was in the action again moments later when Sette’s cross picked out Puflett, whose effort was saved low by the WA custodian.
Their pressure was rewarded with the opener on 69 minutes. A great through-ball from Sette sent Najjer clear, and he finished clinically past Morgan.
They added a second nine minutes later, when Sette burst clear and finished with aplomb past Morgan.
The Young Socceroos were playing outstanding football, and it was only a matter of time before they added a third.
Najjer crossed to Puflett who made no mistake from five meters to seal the 3-0 win for the Young Socceroos.
Before the game, Football West recognised the contributions of Life Members, including 2017 inductees Dave Kindness, Melville City president and former Football West director Rob Mackay, during a celebratory function.
The Tri Series action continues at Forrestfield United’s Hartfield Park on Friday night when the Young Socceroos will continue their preparations for the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship Qualifiers with a match against the Singapore Youth Team.
WA will take on the Singapore Youth Team, who are preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, in the final match at Perth SC’s Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday, August 8.
Tri-Series 2017 – Game 1
Western Australia 0
Young Socceroos 3 (Naijar 67mins, Sette 76’, Puflett 91’)
Wednesday August 2, 2017
Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium
Referee: Steve Gregory
Assistants: Arvin Shan, Daniel Cole
Fourth Official: Michal Jasinski
Western Australia: GK Devon SPENCE, (RGK James MORGAN 46’), 4 Ross MILLARD (20 Alex SILLA 58’), 6 Matt NTOUMENOPOULOS (18 Niccolo SABATINI 58’), 7 Gian ALBANO (13 Jon STYNES 63’), 9 Gordon SMITH (C) (8 Calvin WHITNEY 58’), 10 Alex SALMON (11 Gustavo CATARCIONE 63’), 14 Richard HOWLES (17 Borbor SAM 46’), 15 Daryl NICOL (21 Ryan FRANCIS 63’), 16 Tom KING (2 Sam MITCHINSON 58’), 19 Jason BARRERA (5 Dean EVANS 63’), 22 Jesse FULLER (3 Rocco PIZZATA 63’)
Young Socceroos – First Half: GK Duro DRAGICEVIC, 4 Walter SCOTT, 8 Joshua CAVALLO, 9 Giordano MARAFIOTI, 10 Sebastian PASQUALI, 11 Christian THEOHAROUS, 13 Dyan PIERIAS, 19 Alex GOLLAN, 20 Joel KING, 22 Callum TIMMINS, 24 Jacob ITALIANO
Young Socceroos – Second Half: GK Isaac RICHARDS, 2 Tate RUSSELL, 5 Mathieu CODIER, 6 Marc TOKICH, 15 Aaron REARDON, 16 Moudi NAJJAR, 17 Nicholas SETTE, 21 Mohamed ADAM, 23 Fabian MONGE, 25 Oliver PUFLETT 26 Gianni STENSNESS
Friday, August 4: Young Socceroos v Singapore
Hartfield Park, Forrestfield (7pm kick-off)
Tuesday, August 8: Singapore v WA State Team
Dorrien Gardens, West Perth (7pm kick-off)