The Australian U23 team, the Olyroos, played a friendly against the visiting Young Lions on a very heavy training pitch at Blacktown Olympic Park behind doors today; and defeated them 6-0.
Although often competitive the U23 Singaporeans were fragile in goal and in defence allowing the scoreline to balloon.
This training match was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, but due to heavy rain on the Central Coast the match had to be rescheduled to Blacktown Olympic Park today.
The game started in light rain but the pitch was very heavy and slippery, and in the cold wind most Singaporean players sported gloves. It rained in showers on and off throughout most of the game.
The visitors started well, with some timely pressing and even physicality to break up the Australian midfield build-up which was orchestrated by the captain Oliver Bozanic.
In the 4th minute however Matthew Jurman crossed from wide on the right to meet Jason Hoffman running in, but the ball was hit wide of the left upright.
Australia drew first 'blood' with a Kofi Danning goal in the 6th minute. He latched onto a loose rebound and hit his shot forcefully toward the left of goal and 'keeper Izwan Mahbud in the Singapore goal couldn't hold the greasy ball. 1-0
Singapore seemed to drop their tempo with the goal. Fourteen minutes in Aaron Mooy made a surging run in from the right and slammed the ball past Mahbud, who had a very mixed day. 2-0
With Australia content to knock it about, Simgapore was able to push up their line and stop exposing themselves wide, and the game settled into a midfield duel. The Young Lions too often coughing up possession but scrambling to cover any building attack and relying on a sole striker in Khairul Nizam to keep the Olyroo defence honest.
In the 41st minute however Singapore's captain, Hariss Harun, led by example with a stinging shot that Dean Bouzanis parried, only for it to run to Hariss whose follow up shot was deflected wide for a corner.
One minute later Fazil Ayob sent over a long cross to the far post from the right but Irwan Shah was just unable to connect with his head.
Singapore made 3 changes after half-time but it was Australia that looked stronger. Jason Hoffman was on the spot and free to knock the ball into the net after some solid lead up play by the Olyroos. 3-0
A tiring Shahir Hamzah conceded a needless free kick at the 55th minute and Marko Jesic pushed it to a teamate, received it back and pushing forward picked the top right corner from 28m. 4-0
It was getting a little 'willing' out there, so on the hour mark Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar made 7 changes at once to his team, to rest some players and give others a much needed run, but it didn't impact noticeably on their shape or 'rhythm'.
About then substitute Navin Nigel Vanu had a good chance, but his shot was deflected wide.
Australia's fifth goal came when young substitute Mustafa Amini, fresh from U20 duty, received the ball after a long period of possession play. He looked up and taking a few paces, curled the ball inside the top right corner - 'where spiders live' - and it rebounded down into the goal. 5-0
Substitute Lou Zhenlun Eugene hit wide off a long ball played behind the Olyroos left defence; but it was too little too late.
Australia's final goal added insult to injury when Aziz Behich nutmegged a defender hit it wide of 'keeper Izwan Mahbud , who to his credit had kept a few balls out of danger by his fingertips. 6-0
Singapore hope to have a game on Wednesday night against NSW Super League club Central Coast FC if the weather allows before they return home, whilst the Olyroos will continue to train on the Central Coast for the rest of the week to prepare for their two matches against Yemen on the 19th June (in Gosford) and 23rd June (in Newcastle).
The Australians need to win these two matches on aggregate to progress to the next round of qualification which sees the 12 winners from Round 2 divided into three groups of four teams each.
The teams in each of those groups will then play in a home-and-away format from 21 September 2011, to 14 March 14, 2012, with the winner of each group directly qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition.
The three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a playoff at a centralised venue from March 25 to 29, 2012, and the winners of this group will meet the representatives of CAF (Africa) for a berth in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Report by Chris Dunkerley
At Athletics Field No. 3, Blacktown Olympic Park, Rooty Hill 2pm (AET) Tuesday 14 June, 2011