The Olyroos flexed their muscles as Australia’s Under-23 side defeated Saudi Arabia 3-1 thanks to a three-goal first half in an international friendly.
A Noah Botic brace and a Nishan Velupillay goal ignited the Olyroos at the Prince Saud Bin Jalawi Stadium, where hosts Saudi Arabia pulled a goal back in stoppage time on Wednesday (AEDT).
In their final game in the Middle East, having edged Qatar in the opening fixture as they ramp up preparations for the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup in April, the Olyroos dominated the opening half.
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The Saudis wasted two clear-cut chances at the start of the game and the Olyroos – with seven Isuzu UTE A-League-based players in the starting XI; Botic (Western United), Velupillay (Melbourne Victory), Ryan Teague (Melbourne Victory), Jake Hollman (Macarthur FC), Steven Hall (Adelaide United), Jacob Farrell (Central Coast Mariners) and Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Sydney FC) – capitalised.
Western United striker Botic broke the deadlock with a close-range finish in the 12th minute and he was at it again nine minutes prior to half-time.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Jacob Italiano squared the ball across goal and into the path of Botic, who tapped home.
Then Melbourne Victory winger Velupillay pounced on a goalkeeping error to make it 3-0 in the 43rd minute.
Saudi Arabia huffed and puffed in the second half, while Olyroos defender Nectar Triantis was sent off for a second yellow card 15 minutes from the end.
The Olyroos had to play the closing stages with nine men after Mohamed Toure hobbled off the field due to injury. Australia had already used all their substitutions.
While Saudi Arabia did find the back of the net in the 95th minute, the Olyroos were not to be denied another victory.