The Olyroos are through to the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championships. Picture: Supplied
The Olyroos are through to the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championships. Picture: Supplied

How Olyroos can qualify for Tokyo Olympics

The Olyroos have progressed to the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championships unbeaten and as winners of Group A despite a frustrating 1-1 draw with Bahrain in Rangsit, Thailand.

Australia will learn their quarter-final opponent tomorrow night, with Syria, Saudi Arabia or Qatar their possible opponents.

Ramy Najjarine scored his third goal for the Olyroos to take the lead but a blistering free-kick from Mohamed Marhoon levelled the score just before halftime.

Cheap turnovers were still a common theme in their performance with Australia struggling to keep a hold on the match, with the Olyroos spending the majority of the match on the back foot.

Chances were hard to come by but Australia finally took the lead when the tournament's breakout star, Wellington Phoenix whiz Reno Piscopo sliced through the Bahraini defence to set free Najjarine who placed his finish to perfection.

 

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The Olyroos only had themselves to blame as they conceded with the last kick of the first half. Tass Mourdoukoutas gave away a needless free-kick which allowed Marhoon to power home an emphatic equaliser from the dead ball.

Australia's second half had remnants of their first against Thailand - poor giveaways in their own half and struggling to make up ground and keep pace with Bahrain who needed a victory.

Defender Dylan Ryan has played every single minute of the group stage and his lack of energy was showing, turning over possession when Australia was vulnerable.

Keanu Baccus was also a culprit of poor passing putting the Olyroos under pressure.

Daniel Bouman and Al Hassan Toure were unsuccessful in their attempts to put the ball in the net. Not even Graham Arnold's secret weapon, the matchwinner against Thailand, Nick D'Agostino could propel Australia to a victory despite a point blank header going wide in stoppage time.

With Japan now eliminated from the tournament, Australia must make the final or win the third place playoff to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


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