The Young Socceroos have been bundled out of the ASEAN Football Federation's Under-19 Youth Championship after losing a seven-goal thriller against Japan on Sunday, featuring a wonder goal from Aussie skipper Scott Galloway.
Needing at least a draw to keep their hopes of progression to the semi-finals alive, Paul Okon’s side appeared to have achieved that when Peter Skapetis slotted a penalty in the last minute of normal time.
But the Japanese went right down the other end, with Takagi Daisuke breaking Aussie hearts with a smart finish two minutes into stoppage time at My Dinh Stadium.
After a narrow loss to Vietnam on Friday, the defeat means the Young Socceroos are out of the tournament.
There was no suggestion of the drama that was about to unfold early on though as the Young Socceroos controlled proceedings for much of the first half.
They were rewarded with the opening goal on just 13 minutes, with a sublime strike by skipper Scott Galloway.
After a cross from the left made its way to the far post, Galloway surged onto the ball, flicking it up and producing a stunning on-the-run volley which thundered into the top corner.
But a lapse in concentration a minute before the break proved costly as the Japanese struck twice in quick succession through Ochi Yamato and Okugawa Masaya to lead 2-1 at half-time.
Harry Ashcroft’s diving header got the Young ‘Roos back on level terms, only for Masaya to get his second soon after following a classy run and finish.
Desperate for a goal, the Aussies created a number of chances and were rewarded when Masaya handled in the box allowing Skapetis to convert from the spot in the final minute.
But the drama wasn’t done as the Japanese won a free-kick a minute later right on the edge of the box, with Daisuke in the right place to blast home the rebound.
Despite the two defeats, the tournament is crucial preparations for the side ahead of October’s 2014 AFC Under-19 Championships in Myanmar, which double as qualifiers for next year’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
The Young Socceroos must make the semi-finals of next month’s event to qualify for the 2015 youth World Cup.