Olyroos take big step toward Asian Cup

Jacob Italiano was one of three Olyroos goalscorers in their win over Indonesia.
Jacob Italiano was one of three Olyroos goalscorers in their win over Indonesia.

The Olyroos have overcome a stubborn Indonesia 3-2 to move one step closer to securing a spot at next year's U23 Asian Cup.

Captain Marc Tokich, Patrick Wood and Jacob Italiano were the scorers for Australia, with all the goals coming in an action-packed second-half at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The teams will meet again on Friday with the Olyroos favourites to finish off the two-leg tie and advance to the continental tournament being held in Uzbekistan next June.

Australia began at a rapid pace winning a penalty within the first five minutes when Lewis Miller was felled inside the penalty area.

Wood stepped up but was denied by Ernando Ari Sutaryadi, who guessed correctly by diving to his right.

The Olyroos had chances through Lachlan Brook but it wasn't until after the break that they finally found the target.

Brook sent a well-weighted delivery into the box which found the head of Sweden-based Tokich, who nodded home in the 53rd minute.

Sydney FC striker Wood made amends for his penalty miss when he tapped in from close range in the 59th after a well-crafted opening involving Fabian Monge, substitute Alessandro Lopane and Brook.

Indonesia didn't go down without a fight as Witan Sulaeman halved the deficit when he fired home past Macarthur FC goalkeeper Nick Suman.

Australia responded instantly though with Italiano scoring the pick of their three goals on the night.

Taking the ball 35 metres out from goal, he spun and weaved past four defenders before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box.

The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder's effort cannoned off the post and into the net in the 77th minute to put the Olyroos in a commanding position.

Australia held on for the victory despite Taufik Hidayat netting in the 84th.

Interim coach Trevor Morgan said the Olyroos rewarded for their effort over the past fortnight in preparing for the qualification matches.

"It sets us up for the second match where our target will be to secure qualification for Uzbekistan 2022, and I have full trust in our support staff to have our boys physically ready for another match in less than 72 hours' time," he said.

Australian Associated Press