Dreams of Asian Cup side boosted

Following a convincing displaying in its Asian Cup qualifier, Australian under-23 player and Ballarat boy Stefan Nigro has his sights set on making the Asian Cup squad.

Nigro played the full 90 minutes in two of the three matches in Myanmar as Australia went through undefeated, winning 2-0, 7-0, 3-0.

Nigro said he was pleased with his performance and would now focus on continuing that form with Melbourne Victory in order to impress for selection ahead of the Asian Cup from January 9-27.

"I felt my performances were quite good and I got a lot of good feedback from the coaching staff,” Nigro said.

"I just have to keep pushing on and working hard to get picked for that Asian Cup squad.

"It was just a good team performance, in all games.

"I'm just working hard to try and get myself a lot of games which will put me in good stead to get picked for the national team.”

Nigro said the Asian Cup qualifiers provided an amazing experience on many levels.

The atmosphere was “next-level” in the final match against host nation Myanmar.

With the teams playing off for Asian Cup qualification, Nigro and his fellow countrymen stepped out onto the pitch in front of 30,000 passionate fans – finding an Australian supporter proving difficult.

Nigro said it sounded more like 60,000 while singing the national anthem on such an occasion was something he would never forget.

"There was about 30,000...that 30,000 felt about 60,000, the atmosphere, the yelling - it was another level.

"It was the loudest atmosphere I've ever played in, it was ridiculous...it's next-level loud.

Asian Cup qualifier

Asian Cup qualifier

"For a lot of the boys that would've been the biggest crowd they'd played in front of and the fear of having every single person against you, but we handled it well...it gives the home team more energy. But to be fair, the fans were very respectful.”

Nigro said it was challenging given the one-sided, yet respectful, nature of the crowd. The group making an effort to “get around each other” in order to create its own atmosphere.

The 20-year-old said he was elated to simply make the side.

"We just let our football do the talking.

"It was one of my goals to make that squad and obviously play. 

"At this age, the Olyroos is the team you want to be making...I was over the moon.”

Nigro was apart of a Melbourne Victory side that won through to the final 16 of the FFA Cup, defeating Brisbane Roar 5-1 on Wednesday.

Victory will now play Adelaide United to advance to the final eight.