Australia's Young Socceroos side lost 2-1 in the first of its two international friendly matches against the Portugal U-20 national team in Lisbon.
Going into the game, Australia was without the services of Terry Antonis due to the Sydney FC midfielder being withdrawn from the squad after suffering a head injury against Wellington Phoenix in the opening round of the A-League, but was bolstered by the late addition of England-based defender Curtis Good.
The Young Socceroos had the first opportunity of the match when Jamie Maclaren found some space inside the box, but his resulting shot was comfortably saved by Portugal goalkeeper, Rafael Veloso.
For the first quarter of the match, the Young Socceroos dominated possession and often forced the host side to turn over.
Portugal had a chance in the 36th minute when André Gomes tried his luck with a powerful shot from outside the box, but Australia goalkeeper Paul Izzo was up to the task and made an easy save.
Two minutes later, Australia had its best chance of the half when Jackson Irvine won the ball in midfield with a good tackle and then laid off to Adam Taggart, who was running towards goal. Taggart then found himself with a one-on-one opportunity with the Veloso but his shot to the goalkeeper's right went wide of the target.
The opening goal came just after the hour mark following a series of unfortunate of events for the Young Socceroos. Portugal’s Betinho had the ball in central position bearing down on goal when Connor Chapman made a tackle on the edge of the box that the referee judged to be a last man challenge and consequently red-carded Chapman. From Portugal’s resulting free-kick, Taggart was controversially adjudged to have handled ball which handed the host side a penalty. Portugal captain João Mário made no mistake with his attempt sending Izzo the wrong way in the process to give his team the lead.
Taggart made amends five minutes later when he received a great through ball from Good inside the Portuguese box and then converted his one-on-one opportunity with a great left foot strike to level the scores.
With the match seemingly destined to end in a draw, Portugal substitute Tó-Ze crossed into the Young Socceroos' penalty area, where he found Aladjé who was able to score the winner deep into additional time.
Young Socceroos coach Paul Okon was disappointed to lose the match in such a fashion, but was very proud of how his team played as a whole.
“Today’s game was against a world class opponent. We had a game plan which the players executed to perfection which was really pleasing,” said Okon.
“Against teams like Portugal you have to take your opportunities and we created two very good chances in the first half and should have been leading 2-nil at half time.
“Connor Chapman’s red card left us with 10 men for nearly 30 minutes we continued to play good attacking football and Adam Taggart’s great goal was a reward for the whole effort of the team.
“While it was disappointing to concede a goal in the final minute of extra time it does not take away from an outstanding performance from the whole team.
“We look forward to the second match against Portugal on Sunday,” concluded Okon.
The Young Socceroos will again face the Portugal U-20 national team on Sunday 14 October at the National Stadium in Lisbon.
John Boultbee is set to relinquish his role as Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) Head of National Teams to take up a role as honorary head of World Rowing (FISA).