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By ESPN Staff

Young Socceroos reach quarter-finals

The Young Socceroos are through to the quarter-finals of the Asian under-19s championship after staging a dramatic comeback to draw 1-1 with Saudi Arabia in their final group match.

Striker Corey Gameiro was once again the hero, with his goal deep into stoppage time rescuing Australia's campaign just as it looked set to end.

Australia will face Jordan in the quarter-finals, with the winner also securing qualification for next year's FIFA Under 20s World Cup in Turkey.

The Young Socceroos started the match positively, knowing anything but a loss would get them through to the knockout stages.

They applied plenty of pressure early but Saudi Arabia worked their way into the game throughout the first half and Australian goalkeeper Paul Izzo was forced into several great saves.

However, the Saudis broke the deadlock after halftime when Ahmed Alshehri set up Fhad Al Muwallad to score in the 57th minute.

Australia pushed hard for an equaliser but it looked like they were heading out of the tournament until a dramatic finish.

Sydney FC midfielder Terry Antonis lobbed a pass to Gameiro, who hit a perfect left-footed strike on the turn to level the scores.

Gameiro, who plays for Dutch club FC Eindhoven on loan from English Premier League side Fulham, had also scored the equaliser in Australia's 1-1 draw with Syria on Tuesday.

Young Socceroos' coach Paul Okon praised his side's never-say-die attitude.

"To back up only two days after a very tough and physical game against Syria was very difficult and Saudi Arabia certainly made us work for every scoring opportunity," Okon said.

"... I am amazed at the courage and self belief of our players and our mentality is to never give up and we deserve our place in the quarter-finals.

"I would like to congratulate all the players and my staff on their determination and hard work.

"We now will recover and prepare ourselves for the most important match in the tournament."

In the other Group D match, Qatar defeated Syria 2-1.


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