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Olyroos' heartbreak as Olympic hopes dashed again

Soccer

The Olyroos’ hopes of qualifying for the Rio Games later this year have ended in heartbreak after they could only draw 0-0 with Jordan in Qatar.

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Aurelio Vidmar’s side needed a win to advance to the knock-out stages of the Asian Under-23 championships, which is doubling up as an Olympic qualifying competition, and were denied the most dramatic of victories in the final minute when Jamie Maclaren’s lobbed effort beat Jordanian keeper Noureddin Ateyah but clipped the crossbar.

It proved to be the best chance of a match Australia largely controlled territorially but failed to create many clear-cut goal opportunities against a well organised Jordan side.

“We knew we were probably going to control most of the game, which we did,” Vidmar said.

“Unfortunately we were unable to break the deadlock.

“I can’t fault the players, they gave everything they possibly can… we had a great game, unfortunately we weren’t able to get the result.”

A shock defeat to the UAE in their opening match ultimately proved to be the Olyroos’ undoing but a 2-0 win over Vietnam had left destiny in their own hands with just three teams from Asia going forward to play in Brazil.

“We probably didn’t start off too well with the game against UAE and that probably hurt us,” Vidmar said.

“I thought we were good enough to get out of the group. Unfortunately sometimes what you wish for you don’t get.”

The first half was a cagey affair with neither side’s goalkeeper really tested, but early in the second period Olyroos custodian Aaron Lennox did well to palm away a well-struck Ahmad Hisham effort from just inside the box.

Vidmar brought on Andrew Hoole and Terry Antonis to try and spark the attack and find the crucial goal but as his side pushed forward they were caught on the break and should have found themselves behind when Saleh Ibrahim was put clean through on goal, but the substitute was unable to apply the finish.

With time running out the Olyroos pushed men forward and Brisbane Roar striker Maclaren almost grabbed the glory in injury time when he latched on to a neat flick from Cameron Burgess.

The defeat means the Olyroos haven’t qualified for an Olympics since Beijing in 2008 under Graham Arnold.

-AAP

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