Australia 1-1 South Korea: Favourites Share the Spoils in Asian Cup
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Australia and South Korea served up an enthralling encounter between two of Asia's powerhouses, cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw. In truth, neither team deserved to lose as Mile Jedinak's maiden goal for Australia cancelled out Ja-Cheol Koo's first-half effort.
A slightly cautious South Korea side took the lead after 24 minutes. The Australian defence failed to deal with a hopeful punt forward from goalkeeper Sung-Ryong Jung. Dong-Won Ji got in behind Sasa Ognenovski before squaring it to Ja-Cheol Koo who blasted the ball home for his third goal of the tournament.
Australia equalised just after the hour mark and the goal was a deserved reward for their endeavours. Goalkeeper Sung-Ryong Jung failed to deal with Lucas Neill's dinked ball into the danger area and Mile Jedinak accepted the invitation to head home into the vacant net. It was the perfect time for the Genclerbirligi midfielder to open his international account.
Makeshift strike-duo Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell had the early chances in the game, with the latter half-volleying over the bar on six minutes. Cahill was then bundled over in the box by Cha Du-Ri on the quarter hour, but was controversially denied the penalty. Three minutes after the goal, Dong's shot was beaten away by Schwarzer after incisive build-up play from Lee Young-Pyo.
Kewell was the most consistent goal threat for the Socceroos and he was unfortunate that his free-kick whistled inches above the crossbar on 31 minutes. Six minutes later, he berated himself for shooting wide after Brett Holman's persistence had won the ball back. Tim Cahill then took too long to pull the trigger at the back post, with Cha Du-Ri making a vital last-ditch interception.
After the break, the match continued to be a hard-fought battle between two evenly-matched sides. The industrious players in green and gold upped their work-rate still further while the Koreans began to open up. Park Ji-Sung saw his stinging shot beaten away by Schwarzer, who made a good stop diving to his right on the hour mark.
Both sides pressed for the winner and the Koreans came agonisingly close with four minutes left, but Schwarzer pulled off a brilliant reflex save to thwart Ki Sung-Yong from close range.
The game ended with a real show of courage from David Carney, who soldiered on after his shoulder popped out.
Holger Osieck's side take on Bahrain in their final group game, while the Koreans face rank outsiders India in four days time. Both sides occupy the qualification spots in Group C with four points each.
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