A revamped Olyroos side was thumped 4-0 by Japan in their final group match at the AFC U22s Championship in Oman overnight.
With an unassailable lead at the top of group C going into the match, Olyroos Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar made a large number of changes to the starting line-up and handed the captain’s armband to Jason Geria.
Japan had the better of the early exchanges as Yajima flashed an effort wide after just four minutes before only a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle by Jason Geria denied Takuya Kida.
The Olyroos had their first chance after 17 minutes as Japanese goalkeeper Daichi Sugimoto failed to hold Stefan Mauk’s shot, but fortunately for the custodian when the rebound eventually found its way to Dylan Tombides, Naomichi Ueda was on hand to block the striker’s shot at the near post.
Japan took full advantage a minute later as Shoya Nakajima’s low skimming shot from the edge of the area beat Olyroos goalkeeper Jack Duncan.
Six minutes later Nakajima turned provider to double Japan’s lead as he set up Shinya Yajima.
Japan’s third came in the last minute of the first half after Ryosuke Yamanaka’s left wing cross was turned into his own net by Olyroos defender Corey Brown at the far post.
Three minutes into the second half Japan scored their fourth after Christopher Ikonomidis was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box as the midfielder attempted to block Yajima’s cross. Nakajima dispatched the resulting penalty to complete his brace.
Ikonomidis came close to making amends for his error with just over 15 minutes remaining, but Kyohei Yoshino’s sliding block halted any chance of retribution.
Vidmar was obviously disappointed with the score line after the match but has happy with the lessons learnt.
“It was again important for us to make changes to see that the players can play at this level,” said Vidmar. “The first 20 minutes were OK and we had some good occasions, but after the early goal we really struggled.
“Japan made it difficult for us with the extra man in midfield and we found it difficult to play in the tight areas. It was not the intention to take it easy. We had a discussion that even though the match had no bearing on the result we still wanted to play at a high level.
“It looked like some of the players were fatigued as a lot of these players don’t play a lot of football. They need to try and get through when it is difficult. No game at international level is easy and tonight was no exception,” concluded Vidmar.
The Olyroos will now face Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening (5:00pm local, 12am AEDT) in the Quarter Finals of the AFC U22s Championship at the Royal Oman Police Stadium, Muscat.
Japan 4 (Shoya Nakajima 18’/48’ (pen), Shinya Yajima 24’, Corey Brown 45’ o.g.)
Olyroos line-up: 2.Jason Geria (C) , 5.Corey Brown, 7.Stefan Ingo Mauk (21.Andrew Hoole 85’), 9.Dylan Tombides , 12.Jack Duncan (gk) , 14.Nicholas Ansell , 15.David Vrankovic , 17.Jake Barker-Daish , 19.Hagi Gligor , 20.Christopher Ikonomidis , 22.Ryan Kitto ,
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Aaron Lennox (gk) , 3.Curtis Good , 6.Joshua Brillante , 8.Ryan Edwards , 10.Adam Taggart , 11.Connor Pain , 13.Scott Galloway , 16.Reece Caira , 18.John Hall (gk) , 23.Peter Skapetis ,
Yellow Cards: Hagi Gligor 47’
Not Eligible: 4.CONNOR CHAPMAN
Japan line-up: 2.Naoki Kawaguchi ,3.Kyohei Yoshino ,5.Takaharu Nishino (C) ,6.Ryosuke Yamanaka ,7.Riki Harakawa (17.SHUTO KOHNO 68’),9.Musashi Suzuki (14.TAKUMA ARANO 75’),10.Shoya Nakajima ,13.Shinya Yajima (8.HIDEKI ISHIGE 56’), ,18.Daichi Sugimoto (Gk) ,20.Naomichi Ueda ,22.Takuya Kida ,
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Masatoshi Kushibiki (gk),11.Takeshi Kanamori ,12.Hirotaka Tameda ,15.Masashi Kamekawa ,16.Takuma Asano ,19.Hiroki Akino ,21.Tatsuki Nara ,23.William Popp (gk) ,
Not Eligible: 4.Ken Matsubara7 comments