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Olyroos shock Argentina 2-0 in Sapporo Games upset

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A Lachlan Wales first-half strike has set Australia’s men’s football side on the way to an upset 2-0 win against Argentina in Sapporo on Thursday night.

Graham Arnold’s Under-23s side, which is better known as the Olyroos, took the attack to their highly rated opposition and were rewarded when Wales tapped home from close range at the back post after a Joel King assist across the six-yard box had eluded Mitch Duke and his defender.

In a physical game in which seven Australians collected yellow cards, the game took a turn for the worse shortly before half-time when Argentina’s Francisco Ortega was dismissed for a second yellow card after tangling with Riley McGree.

Both sides hit the woodwork, but it took until late for Australia to take advantage of its numerical superiority.

Melbourne City starlet Marco Tilio scored with a sweetly struck first-time shot – only his second touch after coming on as a substitute less than 90 seconds earlier.

Fittingly, his first touch orchestrated the 79th-minute attack by playing the ball to Mitch Duke, who laid the ball back to Tilio for his match-winning strike.

Duke, one of the three over-age permitted to play in each team, almost scored a third just before the full-time whistle have earlier clipped the crossbar about 20 seconds into the second half.

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In their first Olympics since 2008, the Olyroos next play the star-studded Spain, which earlier drew 0-0 with Egypt.

The match, also in Sapporo, is scheduled for 8.30pm on Sunday.

Australia’s win, which sees it top the Group C standings, avenged 1-0 defeats to Argentina at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics when the South Americans went on to win gold.

The result would not come as a surprise to Arnold, who earlier said his side was ‘‘ready to shock the world’’.

“We come into this tournament with great expectations to go far in the tournament and win games,” Arnold said.

“I truly believe a lot in this group. In the players that we’ve got. It’s a young group but they’ve got a lot of energy.”

“It’s a great talented squad of young players. They’ve got great energy. And they’re ready to shock the world.

“I expect some of our players to take the tournament by storm.

“We’ve got a great, talented squad. We respect the opposition. We know what their strengths are and where they’re too exposed, their weaknesses, so it’s more the focus on our own performance.”

Wales told Channel 7 after the game “it was a dream come true”.

“Tonight we shocked the world and hopefully we can keep shocking the world throughout the tournament,” Wales said.

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-with AAP

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