Gary van Egmond’s team of Olympic hopefuls gained more valuable minutes in their friendly against the Romanian Under 23s, but fell to a 1-0 defeat.
A goal within the first 10 minutes from George Ganea proved to be the difference between the two teams, who had never previously played each other at this youth level.
The Viitorul forward latched onto Andrei Ciobanu’s looped ball over the top of the Olyroos defence, beating Jay Rich-Baghuelou to the ball before calmly chipping Ashley Maynard-Brewer to finish from the top of the penalty area.
The rest of the match provided little entertainment, with few chances for either side, bar a couple of pot shots from distance.
STRUGGLES GOING FORWARD
Romania’s high press gave the Olyroos very little time on the ball. Any foray forward was often rushed, panicked, and too direct.
John Iredale struggled to get in the game, often dropping deep to help defend whilst his side were out of possession, and unable to find much space in the final third.
Midway through the second-half, Nicholas D’Agostino, who replaced Iredale, was able to break onto a loose ball and raced up the pitch alongside Daniel Arzani, with one defender to beat. His final ball was delayed and behind Arzani, allowing a recovering Romanian defender to intervene and halt the attack.
ARZANI WORKING TO FULL FITNESS
Arzani was the Olyroos’ brightest spark going forward. When he was able to get on the ball, he was always willing to take on defenders ahead of him, winning a few fouls and getting into dangerous positions.
He came the closest to getting Australia on the board with a free-kick that was whipped narrowly wide of Marian Aioani’s left-hand post.
BRIGHT SPOT FOR MAYNARD-BREWER
Ashley Maynard-Brewer was the man between the sticks for the Olyroos, and he recovered well after conceding early in the match.
He was not given a great deal to do, but his handling was very impressive and he looked comfortable to play the ball out from the back too.
His best moment came in the second half as he rushed out from the edge of his area to close down and tackle an Romanian attacker who had found some space in a threatening position.
Australia U-23: 4-3-3
1. (GK) Ashley Maynard-Brewer 3. Gabriel Cleur (16. Nicholas Pennington, 85m) 4. Jay Rich-Baghuelou (26. Kristian Popovic, 85m) 5. Dylan Ryan 22. Connor O’Toole 6. (C) Tyrese Francois (24. Marc Tokich, 76m) 19. Ryan Teague (21. Luka Prso, 76m) 25. Caleb Watts (7. Anthony Kalik, 62m) 15. Ramy Najjarine (10. Panos Armenakas, 76′) 11. Daniel Arzani (17. Marlee Francois, 85m) 14. John Iredale (8. Nicholas D’Agostino, 62m)
Unused subs: 2. Doni Grdic 12. Jordan Holmes 13. Con Ouzounidis 18. Jacob Chapman 20. Murray Miller
Manager: Gary van Egmond
Yellow cards: Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Anthony Kalik, Nicholas D’Agostino
Red cards: None
Romania U-23: 4-2-3-1
12. Marian Aioani (GK) 15. Andrei Ratiu 4. Alexandru Pascanu 16. Dragos Nedelcu 2. Radu Boboc 10. Alex Cimpanu 8. Marius Marin (C) 11. Andrei Ciobanu 18. Marco Dulca 20. Alexandru Matan 9. George Ganea
Manager: Nicolae Dica
Yellow cards: Dragos Nedelcu, Marius Marin
Red cards: None
Image Supplied: Socceroos