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McGowan on target as Young Socceroos punish Yemen

Heart of Midlothian youngster Dylan McGowan was amongst the goalscorers as the Young Socceroos defeated Yemen 4-1 their opening match of the AFC U-19 Championship in Zibo, China.

Ahmed Al Baidhani got Yemen off to a great start in the 2nd minute when pounced on a McGowan error but the South Australian native made amends for his mistake by netting Australia's third goal with a 30th minute header as he helped the side cruise along to a solid win.

Sydney FC's Kofi Danning equalised in the 14th minute with a tap in from close range after some good lead-up work from Adelaide United star Mathew Leckie before Kerim Bulut converted from the penalty spot three minutes before the half-hour mark.

McGowan then made it 3-1 before Sunderland youngster Matthew Fletcher finished a nice Brendan Hamill cross to make it 4-1 in the 83rd minute.

The performance, after a shaky start, pleased coach Jan Versleijen.

After starting a bit slowly and nervously we dominated the game for the first half.

"Being behind one-nil we did not panic and knowing that we have a quality team we started to control the game and this difference ensured we were able to create and convert goal scoring opportunities," he said.

"The second half we knew if we continued to control the game that chances would come and we managed to get one more goal and it could have been two or three more.

"Mathew Leckie was outstanding tonight and his contribution was a major factor in the result.

"Overall I was pleased with the start to the tournament knowing that we will improve as we play more matches and we are looking forward to what will be a very hard match with Iran on Wednesday," concluded Versleijen.

The victory puts the Qantas Young Socceroos on top of their group after the Korea Republic defeated IR Iran 2-0 in the earlier match.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their next match of the tournament against IR Iran on Wednesday 6 October with their final group match against the Korea Republic on Friday 8 October.

The quarter finals will be played on Monday 11 October, semi-finals on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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