South Korea beat Australia to clinch group top spot
Brisbane, Jan 17 (IANS) Hosts Australia failed to secure the top spot in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup, succumbing to a 0-1 loss against South Korea in Brisbane Saturday.
South Korea went ahead courtesy of Lee Jeong-Hyeop's first-half opener. But the Socceroos, despite their best efforts, just couldn't find the equaliser in the last round match of the group.The result meant that Australia would play China in a quarter-final clash on Thursday, while group toppers South Korea face the winner of Sunday's match between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
In the day's other fixture, Oman recorded a 1-0 victory over Kuwait in Newcastle, with Abdulaziz Al Muqbali scoring the game's only goal. Kuwait finished the tournament without a point while Oman, despite the win, finished third in the group.
South Korea needed nothing less than a victory against Australia to seal top spot in Group A. And the visitors started strongly in their pursuit. Lee Jeong-Hyeop broke the deadlock on 32 minutes with a wonderful team goal that carved open the Australian back four.
Australia applied pressure in search of an equaliser. But they looked disjointed in attack and deservedly went into the break a goal behind.After the interval, Australia intensified the pressure. They enjoyed 67 per cent of possession but couldn't force their way through.
"Obviously we're disappointed that we couldn't get the result we needed," coach Ange Postecoglou said after the match.
"We conceded a really poor goal, in which we just switched off momentarily. After that, we certainly created enough chances to win the game. We just lacked that cutting edge up front and the keeper made a couple of wonderful saves and unfortunately for us, we didn't get the result."