Olyroos trounce Serbia and Montenegro - 16/08/2004
The Qantas Under 23's emphatically announced their quarter final ambitions overnight, thrashing Serbia and Montenegro 5-1 in the second match of their Athens 2004 campaign.
Tim Cahill (pictured right) began the snowball that was Australia's avalanche of goals in the eleventh minute, which was complemented by a brace a piece to John Aloisi and Ahmad Elrich.
Serbia and Montenegro's goal came from substitute Srdan Radonjic, who capitalized on a Eugene Galekovic error to stab home the European's only consolation midway through the second half.
Galekovic's miscalculation was the only blemish in an otherwise flawless match from the Portuguese-bound 'keeper, who can be accredited for his sides dominant display following a fine penalty save in the first half.
With the Qantas Under 23's leading 1-0 thanks to Cahill's opener, the former South Melbourne man leapt benevolently to his left to deny Simon Vukcevic's effort, after Craig Moore was adjudged to have brought down Andrija Delibasic in the penalty area, as he tried to shield the ball for Galekovic.
Galekovic's fine save, low to his left, swung momentum the way of the Australians and Frank Farina's men were relatively unchallenged by the lethargic Serbia and Montenegro side for the remainder of the match.
Cahill's match opener and first goal for the Qantas Under 23's arrived courtesy of a pinpoint corner from Westerlo-bound attacker Alex Brosque.
As has become quite a habit for the Everton midfielder, Cahill positioned himself perfectly to head home Brosque's cross and hand Australia a precious early advantage.
After an enterprising start, Serbia and Montenegro lost their momentum following Cahill's nodded goal and failed to challenge Galekovic's net with any consistency throughout the half.
Following the penalty save, Osasuna striker Aloisi doubled Australia's advantage on the stroke of half time following a perfectly executed quick counter-attack. The ball was played out to Elrich and with three defenders converging on him his placed his pass perfectly for Aloisi, who finished off with great diligence.
Showing all the experience of his years, Aloisi took one touch before lifting his left-footed effort above the advancing Nikola Milojevic to lead the Qantas Under 23's to the break with their heads held high.
Unlike the match against Tunisia, Australia were determined not to let their opposition back into the match and continued to go on the front foot in the second half , with Aloisi netting his third of the campaign in the 57th minute.
Adrian Madaschi's header from a Luke Wilkshire corner was well saved by the keeper, but Aloisi was quick to pounce on the rebound, who made no mistake from inside the six-yard box.
Within two minutes, Elrich took the Australian tally to four following a clinical first time strike that left Milojevic helpless.
Wilkshire was again the provider, having played a menacing ball into the area that ricocheted into Elrich's path.
The Busan Icons speedster added his second in the closing minutes after being set free by substitute Brett Holman on the right wing.
This time, Milojevic was to blame, having allowed Elrich's effort to trickle through his legs and become the eleventh goal put past Vladimir Petrovic's men in two matches.
However were it not for some fine saves from the Serbia and Montenegro goalkeeper and some lazy finishing from the Qantas Under 23's, Australia may well have toppled double figures in a clash they dominated for the vast majority.
Elrich, Cahill, Wilkshire and substitutes Holman, Anthony Danze and Ryan Griffiths all had good additional chances to score in the second half, but ultimately to no avail.
Goalscorer Elrich said after the match, "We knew we had to win tonight, our job though hasn’t finished yet.
"Now we have to give 110 percent to beat Argentina, which is the great favourite of the organisation. As the national team of Greece has proved to us in the European Championship, nothing is impossible in football."
Regardless, coach Farina will be ecstatic with the final outcome that has seen Australia forge a significant path towards qualification for the final eight.
The 5-1 score line meant Australia had recorded their first Men's Olympic Games Football victory since Atlanta '96, when goals from Peter Tsekenis and Mark Viduka handed an Eddie Thompson coached Australia a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
The huge goal tally is also Australia's biggest ever at an Olympic Games, surpassing the 3-0 win over Denmark enjoyed by the Barcelona '92 Qantas under 23's.
In other Group C action, favourites Argentina defeated Tunisia 2-0 in Patras, meaning Farina's men will need only a point from Wednesday mornings meeting with the South Americans in Athens to confirm their qualification to the next stage.
OLYMPIC GAMES ATHENS 2004
GROUP C opening match
Heraklio: Wed 14 August 2004
AUSTRALIA 5 (Cahill 11’, Aloisi 46+’/57’, Elrich 60’/86’)
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO 1 (Radonjic 72’)
Venue: Pankritio Stadium, Heraklio
AUSTRALIA LINE-UP: Eugene Galekovic (gk), Jade North, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Craig Moore, Adrian Madaschi, Ahmad Elrich, Luke Wilkshire, John Aloisi (Brett Holman 74’), Tim Cahill (Anthony Danze 64’), Alex Brosque (Ryan Griffiths 64’), Jon McKain
Unused Substitutes: David Tarka, Carl Valeri, Spase Dilevski, Brad Jones (gk)
Cautions: McKain, North
What is your opinion about this article?
Start a new topic at our forum!