Behich And Hoffman Start As Olyroos Fall 3-1

Melbourne Heart FC’s Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman featured in the starting line-up as the Olyroos fell to Japan 3-1 in Niigata yesterday.

Melbourne Heart FC’s Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman featured in the starting line-up as the Olyroos fell to Japan U/23 3-1 in Niigata yesterday.

The International friendly gave Qantas Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar a chance to gauge the readiness of the team before their upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games Asian Qualifiers.

The Qantas Olyroos had the perfect start to the match, scoring in the 4th minute. A quick counter attack from defence allowed Mitch Nichols through on goal as he placed his shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

The goal gave the Qantas Olyroos the advantage they needed as they controlled the midfield and created numerous opportunities in front of goal.

However, their dominance in the first-half went to waste when Kensuke Nagai equalised for Japan at the stroke of half-time.

Having been outplayed by the Qantas Olyroos in the first-half, Japan began the second-half strongly. A change in strategy saw the Japanese team closing down and pressing the Qantas Olyroos every time they have possession.

Japan-s effort almost paid off in the 50th minute when Hiroshi Kiyotake-s shot hit the post. Dean Bouzanis, who came on for Andrew Redmayne at half-time, was left rooted to the ground as he watched the shot hit the crossbar.

However, Bouzanis was not able to prevent Japan from taking the lead in 63rd minute. Defender Ryan McGowan headed the ball back to Bouzanis but his pass was intercepted by Nagai, who flicked his shot over the on rushing Bouzanis for his and Japan-s second for the night.

Nagai then turned goal provider with five minutes to go when his inch perfect cross found the unmarked Yuya Osako at the edge of the 16-yard box to volley home the final goal of the night.

The Qantas Olyroos will face Yemen in the 2012 London Olympic Games Asian Qualifiers on the 19th and 23rd June.

Match Details
Japan U-23 National Team 3 (Kensuke Nagai 45-/63-, Yuya Osako 85-)
Qantas Olyroos 1 (Mitch Nichols 4′)
Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tohoku Denryoku Bigswan Stadium, Niigata, Japan

Qantas Olyroos line up: Andrew Redmayne (gk) (Dean Bouzanis (gk) 46′), Ryan McGowan, Matthew Jurman, Aziz Behich, Oliver Bozanic (c), Isaka Cernak (Golgol Mebrahtu 64′), Rocco Visconte, Matthew Foschini, Jason Hoffman (Mirjan Pavlovic 88′), Mitchell Nichols, Marko Jesic (Diogo Ferreira 75′)