Isuzu UTE A-League pair lead Olyroos to impressive win over Saudi Arabia

Western United's Noah Botic bagged a brace as the Olyroos defeated Saudi Arabia in an international friendly.

The Isuzu UTE A-League was front and centre as the Olyroos flexed their muscles in a 3-1 victory against Saudi Arabia in an international friendly.

A brace from Western United’s Noah Botic and goal via Melbourne Victory winger Nishan Velupillay 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.

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, Velupillay, Ryan Teague (Melbourne Victory), Jake Hollman (Macarthur FC), Steven Hall (Adelaide United), Jacob Farrell (Central Coast Mariners) and Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Sydney FC) – capitalised.

Callum Talbot (Melbourne City) and Kai Trewin (Brisbane Roar) also came off the bench.

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Botic, who has scored once for Western this season, 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 as Western prepare to host Adelaide United in Round 5 on Sunday.

Then Melbourne Victory winger Velupillay – whose club teammates are gearing up for Friday night’s trip to Macarthur FC – 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.