Australia have managed to grab a point from their second Group C clash with South Korea tonight.
The Socceroos hit back in the 62nd minute after Mile Jedinak’s first goal at international level. Koo Ja-Cheol had put the South Koreans ahead 24 minutes into the contest but the match ended in a 1-1 draw as Holger Osieck’s men toiled hard to record a vital point.
2011 Asian Cup – Group C
Australia: 1 (Mile Jedinak 62’)
South Korea: 1 (Koo Ja-Cheol 24’)
Venue: Al Gharafa Stadium, Doha
Referee: Abdulrahman Mohammed (QAT)
Yellow cards: AUS - Brett Emerton 28’, Sasa Ognenovski 43’, Tim Cahill 90+4’
KOR - Cha Du-Ri 22’, Ki Sung-Yeung 35’
It was first versus third in Asia with both sides coming off a win in their opening group stage matches, making for an interesting battle in Doha.
There was a nervous moment for the Koreans in just the seventh minute when a free-kick was sent into the area with Tim Cahill being the target with his attempted header dropping for Harry Kewell whose left-footed strike from close range flew over the crossbar.
Seven minutes later, the Socceroos had calls for a penalty as the Taeguk Warriors felt they needed to manhandle Cahill in the area as he went at an aerial ball. Cha Du-Ri’s challenge was forceful to say the least but referee Adbulrahman Mohammed waved it away despite protests from the Australians.
GOAL Korea hit the lead in the 24th minute when goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong sent a long ball toward Ji Dong-Won and the 19-year old controlled with his chest before teeing up Koo Ja-Cheol who whipped it past Mark Schwarzer after taking two touches for his third goal of the tournament.
Minutes later, Schwarzer was called on to make a top save when Lee Young-Pyo knocked it back for Ji but his shot, although on target, could not beat the Fulham gloveman.
Kewell hit a dangerous swerving ball from a set piece situation just after the half-hour mark which slipped inches over the crossbar as the Socceroos strived to find a leveler whilst the Koreans played with a conservative style.
In the 39th minute, Brett Holman was again busy in midfield, finding Kewell on the edge of the area but the Galatasaray star’s left-footed strike limped past the upright a moment before he dummied for Cahill but the Everton man was too slow to react and Cha managed to sneak in to knock it out at the byline.
Despite leading at the break, South Korea were in danger of conceding as the Australians continued to push forward in what was a first half which favoured the trailing side.
South Korea’s goalscorer Koo had an early second half blast at Schwarzer’s goal before Lee Jung-Soo’s 53rd minute glancing header flew just wide of the mark.
The Taeguk Warriors were beginning to play like they were in the lead, showing much more cohesion going forward as things started to go against the Socceroos until they managed to restore parity just after the hour-mark.
GOAL Luke Wilkshire’s outward swinging corner deflected off the head of Cahill to skipper Lucas Neill at the back post who flicked it back into the danger zone where a string of Aussies were waiting to nod it home and it was Mile Jedinak who got the final piece of head on for his maiden international goal.
After the equaliser, the game turned into a slightly cagey affair as both sides were deciding what to do to grab a winner and then in the final ten minutes, things opened right up with Korea coming agonisingly close to a winner with three minutes remaining. Celtic’s Ki Sung-Yeung turned on the area and struck goalward with his left foot but Schwarzer came up with a brilliant save, sticking his right hand out to save the day.
Neither side could pull a winner late in the piece and had to settle for a point apiece to remain first and second on the Group C table.
Mark Schwarzer (gk), David Carney, Sasa Ognenovski, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire (Neill 68’(, Jason Culina (Valeri 46’), Mile Jedinak, Brett Emerton, Brett Holman (McKay 89’), Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill
Subs - Carl Valeri (46’), Jade North (68’), Matt McKay (89’)
Jung Sung-Ryong (gk), Lee Young-Pyo, Cha Du-Ri, Hwang Jae-Won, Lee Jung-Soo, Park Ji-Sung, Lee Chung-Yong, Koo Ja-Cheol (Yeom 67’), Ki Sung-Yeung, Ji Dong-Won (Yoo 67’), Lee Yong Rae
Subs - Yoo Byong-Soo (67’) (Yoon 90’), Yeom Ki-Hun (67’), Yoon Bit Ga Ram (90’)