The Olyroos have finished at the top of Group B after accounting for Togo 4-0 in their final round match of the Intercontinental Cup - Malaysia 2008.
Having already qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, head coach Graham Arnold used the match as an opportunity to test and rest his squad members as he continues his team’s preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Olyroos took the lead in the seventh minute when a long thrown-in from captain Mark Milligan found the head of Matt Simon in the penalty box. Simon’s resulting header hit the crossbar and Jason Hoffman was well placed to head in the rebound.
Just before half-time, a Dario Vidosic corner found Aaron Downes who was hand to neatly finish and double the lead going into the break.
The second half saw the Olyroos continue to dominate their African opposition. On the hour-mark, Togo’s Wassiou Salami was red-carded for a dangerous tackle, which handed the Australians a decisive tactical advantage. Five minute later, Simon laid off a ball to Michael Zullo who beat two defenders and neatly slotted past the Togolese goalkeeper to give the Olyroos a 3-0 lead. In the 70th minute Simon added to his impressive tournament goal-tally when he took on the Togo defence before finding a way to place a well-taken shot just inside the post to take the score to 4-0 in favour of the Australians.
With 10 minutes remaining, Togo had Yossua Ayao sent off for receiving two yellow cards, and unfortunately, due to injuries to a number of Togolese players late in the game, the match was abandoned by the referee as only six Togo players were able to take the field.
Arnold was happy with the performance of his players.
"Again I was pleased with the effort of the boys tonight."
“We achieved our goals of performing well and finishing at the top of our group."
“Now we can focus on the semi final, whoever that may be against," concluded Arnold.
In the other Group B match, Chile defeated Croatia 1-0 which puts the South Americans in second place of Group B and gives them a semi-finals berth. Both the Olyroos and Chile will now await the result of the match between Nigeria and Iraq to learn who they will meet in the semi-final.
Australia 4 (Jason Hoffman 7’, Aaron Downes 42’, Michael Zullo 65’, Matt Simon 70’) defeated Togo 0
Australia: 12.Dean Bouzanis (gk), 21.Tarek Elrich, 5.Mark Milligan (C) (3.Adrian Leijer 75’), 22.Aaron Downes, 13.Trent McClenahan, 4.Stuart Musialik, 7.Adam D’Apuzzo, 15.Michael Zullo, 9.Matt Simon (16.Nigel Boogaard 71’), 23.Dario Vidosic, 19.Jason Hoffman
Substitutes Not Used: 18.Tando Velaphi (gk), 2.Ruben Zadkovich
Yellow Cards: Jason Hoffman 36’
Australia suffered a 3-1 loss to Netherlands in the first of two international matches as part of its Europe-based training camp in preparation for the FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey.