The Young Socceroos concluded their SBS Cup 2018 campaign with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Shizuoka Selection yesterday afternoon.
It was a reward for an encouraging series of performances at the international youth tournament for Ante Milicic’s youthful side, who had been beaten by Japan and Paraguay in their previous fixtures.
Australia were the better of the two teams in the first half with Brisbane Roar attacker Rahmat Akbari testing Shizuoka goalkeeper Kokoro Aoki from a free kick.
Western Sydney Wanderers forward John Roberts also looked threatening from several dangerous forays into the penalty area.
Both sides were unable to keep up the intensity in the second stanza, but Australian goalkeeper and Wanderers talent Nicholas Suman had to be on guard to repel a few dangerous set piece opportunities for the local outfit.
The Young Socceroos eventually prevailed on penalties with Roberts, Mohammed Adam, Louis D'Arrigo and Ramy Najjarine all converting from 12 yards.
Despite the penalty shoot-out victory, Australia finished the tournament in fourth position.
Paraguay were crowned winners after defeating Japan 2-1 later in the day.
The Shizuoka Broadcasting System (SBS) Cup began in 1977 as a series of friendly matches between South Korean and Japanese high schools.
It was expanded in 1979 and since 2002 has been a round-robin tournament for national teams and a representative side from the Shizuoka Prefecture, where the competition is based.
The Cup is for players born in the year 2000, which means a slightly younger group of players than the current Young Socceroos group featured at the tournament - and pushed their case for selection in the Young Socceroos’ squad for the 2018 AFC U19 Championship, which will be held in Indonesia later this year.