Olyroos reach final as Isuzu UTE A-Players, past & present, star in Saudi Arabia

The Subway Olyroos booked their spot in the final of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Under-23 Championship after overcoming Egypt 2-1 in a penalty shoot-out.

Penalties were needed after the match ended 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes in Saudi Arabia, where A-Leagues graduate Garang Kuol (now on loan at FC Volendam from Newcastle United) broke the deadlock in the 15th minute before Egypt equalised seven minutes later.

But ex-Adelaide United goalkeeper Steven Hall, who left the Reds for Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion in January, starred in the shoot-out with a pair of saves while Sydney FC’s Jake Girdwood-Reich and Western Sydney Wanderers forward Lachlan Brook converted the only penalties prior to Egypt’s skied effort confirmed Australia’s place in the final.

Next up for the Subway Olyroos, who saw off Iraq 3-1 in their opener, are Korea Republic on Wednesday (AEDT).

An extended 26-man squad for the fifth edition of the WAFF tournament in Saudi Arabia featured 16 players from the Isuzu UTE A-League as the Olyroos continue to prepare for next month’s AFC U23 Asian Cup.

On Sunday (AEDT), there were seven current Isuzu UTE A-League-based players in the starting XI – Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Sydney FC), Giuseppe Bovalina (Adelaide United), Brook (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jake Hollman (Macarthur FC), Corey Hollman (Sydney FC), Girdwood-Reich (Sydney FC) and Thomas Waddingham (Brisbane Roar), while the likes of Nishan Velupillay (Melbourne Victory) and Jordi Valadon (Melbourne Victory) came off the bench.