Sydney FC’s Youth team have produced a remarkable comeback to reach the final stages of the Vietnam International Youth tournament in Pleiku.
The Sky Blues defeated Laos under 21’s 2-1 with a goal in the final minutes to condemn their opponents to an early exit.
It was a win the youngsters deserved after dominating large parts of the game, played in humid conditions.
Sydney began the stronger of the two sides with Alec Urosevski causing the Laos defence problems.
The striker attempted a 35 yard lob which fell just wide after the Laos keeper had come out of his box to clear, and then dragged a left foot effort past the post following good build up play.
Winger Tom Slater was next to threaten beating two men on the left and producing a dangerous cross which the centre half cleared under the nose of frontman Nikola Taneski.
It was all Sydney but against the run of play Laos took the lead on 26 minutes.
Midfielder Liepvisay stubbed his toe when making a pass and the ball fell to Khanthavong in space up front. With the Sydney defence wrong footed, he laid the ball inside to Sivongthong who aimed a well struck left foot shot into Norval’s bottom left hand corner.
The goal and the humidity took a little of the steam out of Sydney and goalkeeper Ryan Norval was forced to make a diving save to his right to keep the score at 1-0 at half time.
The second half began slowly with neither side making any clear cut chances.
Striker Nikola Taneski was forced off just before the hour mark after taking a knock to the ankle, putting his tournament in doubt.
Despite the loss Sydney pressed forward and were on level terms soon after.
Luke Clifford did well down the left wing and his cross was met perfectly on the volley by 17-year old Christopher Naumoff, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner to the delight of his teammates.
A draw would have meant Laos relying on Malaysia beating Sydney by at least two goals in the final group match to qualify, so they pressed forward and almost got their reward.
With five minutes remaining they got a break on the edge of the Sydney box and Saysana hit a powerful left foot shot
It was headed for the top corner until a brilliant, full length, fingertip save from Ryan Norval in the Sky Blues goal kept Sydney level.
It was the platform they needed to go on win the match and with two minutes to go they did.
Naumoff delivered a free kick from the right and 16 year old Josh MacDonald headed home from close range.
The night was capped off when young new boy Peter Triantis was named the Man of The Match.
This result means Sydney qualify for the final stages of the tournament and will play their final group game on Wednesday against Malaysia under 21’s to decide who finishes top of the ladder.
Sydney FC 2 (Naumoff 60’, MacDonald 86’) d. Laos 1 (Sivongthong 26’)
Referee: Vo Minh Tri (VIE)
Sydney FC: 1. Ryan Norval, 2. Keifer Dotti 3. Aaron Calver, 4. Roberto Speranza (5. Matthew Stewart), 7. Joshua MacDonald, 8. Peter Triantis, 9. Nikola Taneski (19. Theo Kofinas), 10. Tom Slater, 11. Christopher Naumoff, 15.Luke Clifford (14. Luke Jenner), 16 Alec Urosevski.
Subs not used: 6. Anthony Kalik, 17. Rino Zenari, 18. Zackary Nicolis, 20. Anthony Bouzanis (gk), 21. Boden Allport.
P W D L F A Pts
1. Malaysia u.21’s 1 1 0 0 4 2 3
2. Sydney FC 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
3. Laos u.21’s 2 0 0 2 3 6 0
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