Young Socceroos held to UAE draw

The Young Socceroos got off to a nervy start at the AFC U-19 Championships in Myanmar, being held to a 1-1 draw by the United Arab Emirates in the opening match of the tournament.

The Australian U-20 side are hoping to qualify for next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals but will have it all to do in their remaining two matches against Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

Brisbane Roar striker Brandon Borrello slotted a second-half goal to open the scoring for the Aussies but his efforts were cancelled out from the spot by UAE captain Khalfan Mubarak.

The match got off to a cagey start in humid conditions in Yangon as both sides struggled to maintain their composure on the ball.

Sydney FC attacker Chris Naumoff had a chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark when he fired a shot from outside the box but it was acrobatically parried away by the UAE keeper.

At the other end the UAE felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty after having a player brought down in the box. Their appeals were waved away by the Japanese referee as the sides went into the break deadlocked.

Chances were more frequent in the second stanza, with both sides looking a threat from set-pieces. Borrello and Awer Mabil both had chances to put their side in front, while the UAE had a second shout for a penalty turned down.

Coach Paul Okon went to his bench with 20 minutes remaining, with Jaushua Sotirio and Jordan Brown replacing Stefan Mauk and Chris Ikonomidis.

Okon, who is hoping to guide the Young Socceroos to next year's U-20 World Cup – a tournament that he reached the semi-finals of as a player back in 1991, urging his players forward.

The move paid dividends shortly after when some good link up play from Mabil and Naumoff put Borrello through on goal and he was able to squeeze the ball past the goalkeeper with just over ten minutes remaining.

Unfortunately the lead was short lived with the UAE finally having their appeals for a penalty heeded by the referee after Daniel Alessi was judged to have made a foul in the box.

The lively Khalfal Mubarak made no mistake from the spot, sending Jordan Thurtell the wrong way to level the scores.

The Young Socceroos went on the attack in the closing stages with a couple of good chances falling to Adelaide's Mabil but he was unable to convert and both sides had to settle for a point.

Australia 1 (Borello 79')

UAE 1 (Mubarak 84')