Melbourne Heart FC duo Ben Garuccio and Stefan Mauk have enjoyed game time with the Young Socceroos at the COTIF International Tournament in Spain.
Melbourne Heart's Stefan Mauk, left, has featured in the Young Socceroos' opening two matches in the COTIF International Tournament in L'Alcuida, Spain
Melbourne Heart FC duo Ben Garuccio and Stefan Mauk have enjoyed game time with the Young Socceroos at the COTIF International Tournament in Spain, despite the team losing both its opening games.
Garuccio and Mauk came off the bench in the Young Socceroos' 0-1 loss against Qatar in the 36th and 52nd minutes, respectively, in a tournament which features games of two 35 minute halves, and allows ten substitutions.
The pair started in the side's 4-2 loss against Mexico and Head Coach Paul Okon praised the performance against high quality opposition.
The tournament represents the first games of the new Young Socceroos program and will allow Okon to evaluate players that are new to the national program.
Match Report - Mexico 4-2 Young Socceroos
The Young Socceroos have gone down to Mexico 4-2 in their second match of the COTIF International Tournament in L-Alcuida, Spain.
With a 9pm kick-off, the conditions were much more bearable compared to the opening match of the tournament against Qatar.
The match was very fast paced right from the start with both teams playing good possession based football.
Awer Mabil had the first real shot of the match for the Young Socceroos in the 4th minute but his attempt was saved by the Mexican goalkeeper, González.
Mexico opened the scoring two minutes later when Almeida made the most of his one-on-one with Young Socceroos goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis.
Almeida doubled his tally in the 21st minute after the Mexicans capitalised on a Young Socceroos mistake in midfield.
The Young Socceroos pegged a goal back shortly afterwards. Peter Skapetis set-up Mabil whose shot forced a great save by the Mexican goalkeeper who parried the ball out. From the resulting corner the Mexicans cleared the ball out of the box but this was collected by Nicholas Cowburn who drilled the ball low and hard back into the box and Rafael Jiminez was able to get a foot onto it and find the back of the net.
Ben Garuccio had a great opportunity to equalise for the Young Socceroos 7 minutes into the second half but put his shot to the left with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Mexico extended their lead in the 54th minute when Ramirez launched a thunderbolt from the edge of box into the top left corner past the diving Bouzanis.
Again the Young Socceroos replied with a goal two minutes later after Mabil picked up the ball in the corner, took on a Mexican defender and then played the ball into the penalty area for Cowburn finish.
The Young Socceroos pushed hard for an equaliser, but the Mexicans sealed the win in the final minute when Guillermo Martinez headed home from close range.
Although the result wasn-t what he wanted, Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon was very pleased with how his team played compared to the previous match.
“It was a much improved performance tonight against a very high quality opposition. Both teams played some great football and the level and intensity of the match was equivalent to that of an Under 20 World Cup,” said Okon.
“The purpose of this tour was to play some of the best football countries in the world and to start to develop our style of play and tonight we made progress on this.
“It is only our 2nd match as a group and I was very pleased with the effort of the players and their application,” said Okon
The Young Socceroos will have a day off today and will face Saudi Arabia tomorrow in their third match of the COTIF International Tournament, followed by their remaining group match against Spain (16 Aug).
Mexico U-20 4 (Almeida 6-/21-, Ramirez 54-, Guillermo Martinez 70-) Young Socceroos 2 (Rafael Jimenez 24-, Nicholas Cowburn 56-)
Estadio Municipal Els Arcs De L'Alcúdia, L'Alcúdia, Spain Tuesday 13 August 2013 Referee: Jonathan Bernabeu Assistant Referees: Cristian García y Jesús María Gómez
Note: matches are 2 x 35 minute halves and allow ten substitutions. As a result these are not considered full internationals
México - 1 González (gk), 2 Luis Alberto, 3 Carlos Alberto, 4 Cárdenas, 5 Gutiérrez, 6 Flores, 7 Almeida (18 Irving Rodrigo, min. 49), 8 Ramírez, 9 Ríos, 11 Pineda (20 Guillermo Martinez, min. 62), 17 Gabriel Gutiérrez (TA, min. 49) (16 Sergio Rodríguez, min 53)
Coach: Mario Alberto Arteaga Herrea
Australia - 1.Anthony Bouzanis (gk), 17.Nicholas Cowburn, 11.Ben Garuccio (Christopher Cristaldo 57-), 3.Rafael Jimenez (2. Matthew Davies 60-), 6.Hagi Gligor (c), 7.Awer Mabil, 14.Stefan Mauk (10.Christopher Ikonomidis 66-), 5.Dylan Murnane, 16.Christopher Naumoff, 9. Peter Skapetis (19. Nicholas Olsen.57-), 8 Mitchell Oxborrow
Coach: Paul Okon