The Olyroos jetted off to the AFC U23 Championship in Thailand on Monday with one simple goal: qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Australia’s best and brightest prospects, though, will be making history in more ways than one should they qualify for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
Led by Graham Arnold, the man that was in charge the last time Australia’s U23s qualified for the tournament in 2008, Australia is seeking to gain entrance to the Olympics as a member of the Asian Football Confederation for the first time this January.
Australia's best and brightest U23 talent has previously attempted to qualify through the Asian Football Confederation on two occasions: eliminated in the third preliminary round of qualifying as they sought to book a place at London 2012 and failing to get out of the group stages of the Rio 2016 affiliated 2016 AFC U23 Championships.
Entering 2012 qualification in the second preliminary round, things did start well for Australia – a Jason Hoffman brace and Mitch Nichols goal steering them 3-0 past Yemen in the first leg of their tie and a Hoffman hattrick and Aaron Mooy strike in the second giving them a 7-0 aggregate win.
Unfortunately, that’s where the goals dried up for the Olyroos.
Drawn in a group with the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Iraq for preliminary qualifying’s third stage, Australia failed to score a single goal in any of the six group games played between September 2011 and March 2012 – recording four 0-0 draws and suffering a 2-0 defeat to Uzbekistan and 1-0 defeat to the UAE as they crashed out of qualifying.
Following a quarterfinal berth at the inaugural staging of the AFC U23 Championship in Oman two years later, the Olyroos next opportunity to qualify for the Olympics came at the tournament's second iteration in 2016.
Topping a group of Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong to book a place at the Qatari staged competition, Australia was placed into a group alongside familiar foes the UAE as well as Jordan and Vietnam.
Suffering a late, 1-0 defeat against the Arabians in the opening game after an 86th minute own goal from Giancarlo Gallifuoco, the ship was seemingly righted when goals from James Donachie and Jamie Maclaren steered the Australians to a 2-0 win over the Vietnamese.
A frustrating, 0-0 draw with Jordan in their final group game at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, however, meant that the Olyroos were condemned to a third-place finish in their group, an early flight back to Australia and no berth in Rio.
Despite Olympic qualification not being on the line, the luck was no better for the Olyroos two years later at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China.
Drawn in a group alongside South Korea, Vietnam and Syria, a 3-1 opening win over Syria was followed by a 1-0 defeat against Vietnam to set up a do-or-die fixture against South Korea.
Alas, a brace from Lee Keun-ho joined a goal from Han Seung-gyu to propel the Koreans to a 3-0 lead by the 65th minute.
Despite subsequent goals from Nick Cowburn and Trent Buhagiar in the aftermath, it wasn’t enough – Korea recording a 3-2 win to top the group and advance alongside Vietnam.
Adelaide United 4-2 Perth Glory
Needing a win to stay in touch with Conference A leaders Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar – who clashed on Sunday – Head Coach Paul Pezos’ were able to play their part in ensuring that the race for a place in the 2019/20 Y-League Grand Final remained a three-horse race as they hosted the Glory on Saturday.
Despite the final score though, the result was in doubt for much of Glory's visit to the City of Churches.
Though they took the lead in the 10th minute after senior A-League player Nathan Konstandopoulos combined on a one-two with Lachlan Brook and found the back of the net, the Reds found themselves trailing 2-1 five minutes after half time thanks to a brace from Ciaran Bramwell – his fifth and sixth goals of the season.
Taras Gomulka, however, tied things up for the hosts with a nice volleyed finish in the 69th minute, before Daniele Bressan fired them ahead six minutes later. Substitute Massimo Falco then sealed the result for his side in the 86th minute when he fired a shot into the roof of the net.