Joeys crowned AFF U16 Youth Champions after shootout win


Australia Under-16 have beaten Vietnam Under-16 in the ASEAN Football Federation Youth Championship final 5-3 on penalties, after the match finished 3-3 at full-time on Saturday night (AEST) at Cambodia's Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium.

For the Joeys, it was yet another great escape as they were crowned AFF Under-16 Youth Champions.

Fresh off their stoppage-time equaliser and shootout win in the semi-finals, Australia Under-16 once again left it until the dying stages to draw level - scoring twice in the final seven minutes after trailing 3-1.

While Mark Moric gave the Joeys a sniff, captain John Roberts scored the equaliser in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, profiting from an inexplicable goalkeeping mistake, to force yet another shootout.

And it Bryce Bafford, who stepped up for the fifth penalty and sealed the title with a calm finish to spark wild celebrations for coach Tony Vidmar's side.

Despite suffering a 3-0 group stage defeat against Vietnam Under-16, the Joeys came into the final full of confidence after four successive wins, including their semi-final shootout triumph over Thailand Under-16.

After a cagey opening, the Vietnamese caught the Joeys on the counter-attack in the 36th minute with an unmarked Nguyen Huynh Sang making no mistake from close range.

But things got worse for coach Tony Vidmar's side after half-time.

Despite Joeys goalkeeper Nicholas Suman producing a remarkable save in the 55th minute, to keep his side in the contest, just seconds later Vietnam Under-16 had their second goal.

The Vietnamese once again produced a swift counter-attack, benefitting from Fabian Monge carelessly losing the ball on half-way, with Viet Cuong making it 2-0.

But the Joeys were given a lifeline only minutes later after the referee awarded them a penalty for handball, which captain John Roberts duly converted to cut Vietnam's lead back to a solitary goal.

Tony Vidmar's chargers keep pushing forward in search of an equaliser and while it appeared Nguyen Khac Khiem's 77th minute strike had sealed the Joeys' fate, they never gave up and ultimately got their just rewards.