A trio of young City stars were in action for the Olyroos overnight as the U23 side rolled on to a relatively comfortable 2-1 win over Thailand.
Characteristic of Australian national teams, the Olyroos continuously shot themselves in the foot throughout the first half, turning the ball over countless times in midfield leading to several Thai counterattacks, ultimately culminating in Thailand’s 24th-minute goal.
However, Denis Genreau’s introduction to the game at half-time (more on that later) completely changed the state of play, with his presence settling the Australian midfield.
Nick D’Agostino grabbed a goal either side of the break to settle a 2-1 victory for the Olyroos as they continue to march towards Olympic qualification.
Here’s how our City youngsters fared:
The only City representative to get a full 90 minutes, Glover didn’t have a whole lot to do throughout the match and didn’t perform so great when he did.
Whilst it wasn’t a poor showing, Glover could have prevented Thailand’s goal by getting a hand to the initial shot which rebounded off his near post into the path of an oncoming Thai attacker. Even then, Glover immediately returned to his feet but dived early, anticipating the direction of the shot, and the ball ended up in the side of the net he’d just occupied.
His distribution was serviceable throughout the game, but he was mostly punting it long to his strikers and midfielders to win the header over their shorter Thai counterparts.
Far from his best game, but he didn’t play poorly either.
Subbed on at half time to replace Josh Laws, Genreau’s introduction into the game was described by Simon Hill as the ‘key change’ which helped Australia reclaim dominance of the match.
In the first 10-15 minutes of the second half, there were noticeably fewer turnovers and greater periods of sustained attacking opportunity creation.
Whilst he never really displayed any remarkable individual moments, Genreau put in a solid performance and was the pick of the City bunch.
Subbed onto the right wing in the 84th minute and didn’t really have much of an impact until his stoppage-time blunder when he butchered an opportunity to seal the game.
With the ball initially falling to the feet of D’Agostino, who scuffed the shot, it ended up in front of the unmarked Najjarine at the back post, who elected to take a poor touch instead of shooting first time from just a few metres out.
He eventually recovered the ball following the poor touch and whipped in a lethal cross to Al Hassan Toure at the opposite post, but the Adelaide United youngster incredibly mistimed his reach for the ball when it seemed harder to miss.
Can’t read too much into Najjarine’s ten-minute cameo, but unfortunately there were still signs of his nervous performances earlier this season for City.
Despite getting the start against Iraq, Metcalfe found himself on the bench last night against the Thais and never took to the field, remaining as an unused sub. Hopefully he’ll see some action against Bahrain a few days from now.