The Young Socceroos have drawn 1-1 with the Korea Republic as part of their preparations for the FIFA Under 20s World Cup starting in Columbia later this month.
Head coach Jan Versleijen gave the bulk of the squad significant game time in the unofficial training match, played in hot conditions at the Regis University Soccer Field in Denver.
Although both sides were more concerned with performance rather than the scoreline, the match…divided into three periods…was played at a fast pace, with the teams trying to adjust to the altitude.
Australia broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when Kofi Danning beat his defender, got to the goal-line inside the box and cut back to Bernie Ibini-Isei at the far post who made no mistake with his shot from close range.
The Young Socceroos had several chances to double their lead, before the Koreans made the most of a free kick taken just outside the penalty box in the 50th minute.
Lee Ki Je stepped up and swung a perfectly placed left-footed strike into the top left corner of the goal, and the diving Birighitti had no chance of saving it.
Versleijen said he was pleased with his team’s solid first effort at altitude.
“For us at this moment it is important to play matches like this against quality opposition like Korea,” said Versleijen.
“The majority of players had a good amount of game time and most importantly there were no injuries to speak of.
“We are not quite there in terms of our match fitness and there are a number of technical things to work on still, but we are progressing as expected.
“We will have a recovery tomorrow morning, talk about what we need to improve and then have our final training match against England today.”
by Buford Balony