Umina’s Trent Buhagiar enjoyed success as part of the Australian Under-23 Men’s National soccer team that defeated Syria 3-1 in their opening match of the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship on Thursday, January 11 in Kunshan, China.
Australia scored twice in the first half in chilly Kunshan, where the temperature at kick-off hovered just above five degrees Celsius.
Coach Milicic made one change to his line-up for the start of the second stanza as the Central Coast Mariners’ attacker Trent Buhagiar replaced Kamau.
The Umina Eagles junior had an early chance in the second half to make it 3-0 to Australia, however his strike after Mauk’s pass was well saved by Ibrahim.
Strong work down the right by Buhagiar in the 77th minute ultimately led to a second goal for teammate Blackwood and ensured that Australia commenced their assault on the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship in winning fashion.
Australia took on Vietnam in their second Group D match on Sunday, January 14, before playing one of the tournament favourites, Korea Republic, on Wednesday, January 17.
A top two finish in Group D will be required for Australia to advance to the Quarter Finals on the competition.
Australia’s results at the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship will impact the team’s seeding for the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship, which will double as the qualification tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan.
Trent Buhagiar grew up on the Peninsula and played his junior football for the Umina Eagles.
He attended the international football school at Kariong and was signed by the Central Coast Mariners in 2016 having played with the Central Coast Mariners’ Academy from 2013.
Buhagiar has been touted by some as the quickest player in the Mariners’ squad.
Media release, 12 Jan 2018
Ben O’Neill, Football Federation of Australia
Website, 12 Jan 2018
Tyson Scott, Central Coast Mariners