Australia have fought out a two goal victory in its first Olympic appearance since 2008, stunning Argentina at the Sapporo Dome tonight.
Having lost to the Argentines in their past two Olympic clashes, the Olyroos put in an inspiring performance to win 2-0 in front of no fans in attendance.
The win gave Australians watching from home something to cheer about, coming into the game as the underdogs.
Lachlan Wales was set up by Joel King for the opening goal to stun the Argentines in the 14th minute.
King’s low cross in the centre of the box found Mitchell Duke who misfired, before Wales pounced and finished in the bottom right corner to break the deadlock.
Riley McGree would then come close to doubling the Olyroos advantage in the 28th minute.
His overhead shot looked destined for the net, but Argentina keeper Jeremias Ledesma proved up for the challenge, making the save.
Looking composed at the back in the opening 30 minutes, the Olyroos would face their first scare when Ezequiel Barco tried his luck from long range in the 34th minute.
The shot was on target, but luck would be on the Olyroos side as the Argentinian winger would be denied by the crossbar.
It would be the Olyroos turn next to be denied by the post, with Lachlan Wales shot being denied 10 minutes later after being set up from another King through ball.
Australia would be rewarded a free kick in stoppage time, minutes before halftime Nathaniel Atkinson would be brought down on the right wing by Francisco Ortega.
Ortega would be yellow carded for his challenge, and then would be promptly shown a second yellow card for tussling with Riley McGree, putting the South Americans a man down in dramatic fashion.
The Olyroos picked up from where they left off, with Duke through on goal in the opening 20 seconds of the half, though it would end as another shot being denied by the woodwork.
The Olyroos would have another massive chance go begging in the 70th minute. Breaking away on the counterattack.
McGree would set up Wales five yards out for the tap in but would be denied by Ledesma, who pulled off another important save.
McGree would try his luck himself a minute later from range with Ledesma caught off his line, but the ball would land just high of the bar.
The Olyroos would finally get reward for effort, with Marco Tilio within a minute of coming off the bench found the net to double their advantage in the 80th minute.
Duke would set up Tilio who struck from outside the box to seal the game for the Olyroos.
A COMPOSED DEFENCE BRINGS A CLEAN SHEET
Led by captain Thomas Deng, the back four put in a stellar display failing to concede in a game they were expected to struggle in.
Deng and Souttar were immense as centre halves, while Atkinson and King were steady at the back and also created attacking opportunities, pushing forward to set up chances.
OLYROOS SHOW GOOD ENDEAVOUR
The Olyroos have shown they will be competitive despite being perceived to be drawn into a group of death.
The side were aggressive in their approach to the game. And while conceding 18 fouls and having seven players finish on yellow cards shows a lack of discipline, it is a good sign to see the side have a desire to not be the whipping boys of the group.
GRAHAM ARNOLD KEEPS GETTING IT RIGHT WITH THE YOUTH
Since Graham Arnold has taken over as the head coach of Australia, the U23s side have shown enocouraging signs.
The side has been competitive on an international stage, and after an encouraging U23s AFC Championship in which they finished third, the side have shun on the international stage again with a massive upset.
Australia 2 (Lachlan Wales 18′,Marco Tilio 80′) Argentina 0
Referee: Srdan Jovanovic
- Thomas GLOVER (gk), 2. Nathaniel ATKINSON, 5. Harry SOUTTAR, 14. Thomas DENG, 16. Joel KING, 8. Riley MCGREE, 10. Denis GENREAU, (13. Caleb WATTS 72m) 11. Daniel ARZANI, 17. Connor METCALFE, (6. Keanu BACCUS 89m) 20. Lachlan WALES, (9. Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 79m) 12. Mitchell DUKE (19. Marco TILIO 79m)
Unused subs: 18. Ashley MAYNARD-BREWER, 3. Kyle ROWLES,, 3. Dylan PIERIAS
Manager: Graham Arnold
Yellow cards: Caleb Watts, Connor Metcalfe, Denis Genreau, Harry Souttar, Mitchell Duke, Riley McGree, Nathaniel Atkinson
- Jeremias LEDSEMA (gk), 4. Hernan DE LA FUENTE, 2. Nehuen PEREZ, 14. Facundo MEDINA, 19. Francisco ORTEGA, (13. Marcelo HERRERA 62m) 8. Santiago COLOMBATTO, (17. Tomas BELMONTE 78m) (16. Martin PAYERO 77m) 5. Fausto VERA, 21. Carlos VALENZUELA, 10. Alexis MAC ALLISTER, 11. Ezequiel BARCO, (15. Pedro DE LA VEGA 82m) 9. Adolfo GAICH (18. Ezequiel PONCE 45m)
Unused subs: 12. Lautaro MORALES (gk), 6. Leonel MOSEVICH
Manager: Fernando Batista
Yellow cards: Adolfo Gaich, Facundo Medina, Francisco Ortega
Red cards: Francisco Ortega