Hyundai A-League's Majok and Vujica impress for Australia in Chinese Taipei rout
Future stars of the Hyundai A-League shone brightly as the Australian U-23s beat Chinese Taipei 6-0 in Sunday night’s (AEDT) qualifier for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship .
Graham Arnold’s side are now a good bet for qualification for the 2020 tournament, which takes place in Thailand in January next year, having also hit Cambodia for six in their opening match of Group H on Saturday morning (AEDT).
The quick turnaround from that match forced Australia boss Arnold to field a rotated starting eleven in Phnom Penh, which included six players from the Hyundai A-League.
And it was Western Sydney Wanderers striker Abraham Majok, deployed by Arnold as a right-sided forward on this occasion, who got the ball rolling with a quickfire double inside 21 first-half minutes.
Majok, 20, has registered two Hyundai A-League goals for the Red and Black this season, and opened the scoring in Cambodia after burying Stoke City defender Harry Soutar’s knockdown at the back post.
The Wanderers forward wasted little time in grabbing his second with Australia in the ascendancy, ghosting in from the right flank and applying a smooth finish to Newcastle Jets' fullback Ivan Vujica's cross.
Vujica has earned six starts for Ernie Merrick’s side so far this season, and displayed qualities the Jets - and many other Hyundai A-League clubs - would look for in an up-and-coming fullback throughout the contest.
The 21-year-old was stern in the challenge and offered a consistent threat going forward, later producing another assist for Cerezo Osaka starlet Pierce Waring, who finished confidently from close range for Australia's fifth on the night, after Vujica had kept Majok's over-hit cross in play with an impressively timed leap and header.
Vujica's Newcastle teammate Johnny Koutroumbis earned a start and put in a solid display at the base of midfield, while Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng inked his name on the score sheet by cleanly firing home a loose ball from a corner to make it 3-0 with the final kick of the first half.
Deng, Australia's skipper on the night, was rarely troubled by the Chinese Taipei attack and was withdrawn for Wanderers defender Tass Mourdoukoutas at the break.
It took just four minutes after the restart for Mourdoukoutas to get in on the scoring action, nodding in powerfully from Lachlan Wales' corner.
Melbourne City attacker Wales was another strong performer, with his set-piece deliveries resulting in Deng and Mourdoukoutas' goals.
Chinese Taipei's deep defensive block restricted the impact of centre forward George Blackwood, but the Adelaide United man led the line diligently and showcased several nice touches in the side's build-up play.
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