Asian Cup goals and highlights

Barny 10/01/2015
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Ahead of the competition: Igor Sergeev (l) scores for the Uzbekis.

Uzbekistan beat North Korea 1-0 in the Asian Cup Group B opener in Sydney on Saturday (10th January).

China scored an upset as they beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Group B of the Asian Cup in Brisbane.







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Australia open Asian Cup with 4-1 win over Kuwait

fahad 10/01/2015
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Hosts Australia thumped Kuwait 4-1 in the opening match of the 16th Asian Cup in Melbourne on Friday.









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AC15: Uzbeks, South Korea & China all win

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Anzur Ismailov (c) celebrates scoring Uzbekistan's winning goal against North Korea.

Igor Sergeev's second-half header gave Uzbekistan a 1-0 win over North Korea as the 2011 semi-finalists shrugged off heavy rain to win their Asian Cup opener on Saturday.

– Australia make strong statement in Asian Cup opener

– Asian Cup: Writers' predictions – Players & teams to watch

– 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group A & B: Team-by-team guide

An unseasonal downpour left shirts sodden and puddles on the pitch but Sergeev's winner on 62 minutes took the superior Uzbeks past a dogged but uninspiring North Korean side.

Two-time Asian player of the year Server Djeparov set up the goal as Uzbekistan showed they could be ready for another assault on the Asian Cup's latter stages.

In a tepid first half, Timur Kapadze recovered from a nasty clash of heads while defending a corner before coming close at the other end minutes later.

The big midfielder saw his header come off the upright and into the grateful arms of North Korea's Ri Myong-Guk, who later had to be alert to keep out Sanjar Tursunov.

North Korean striker Pak Song-Chol nodded his team's best chance of the first period wide, and team-mate Jon Kwang-Ik was grateful to see his clearance go over the bar.

Steady rain turned torrential during half-time but it didn't stop Uzbekistan from raising the tempo as Kapadze, Vitaliy Denisov and Djeparov all had sight of goal.

And it was captain Djeparov who created Uzbekistan's opener, lofting a cross for Sergeev to leap and nod past the stranded Ri in the North Korean goal.

Sergeev could have added a second from substitute Sardor Rashidov's cross, and Tursunov drew a point-blank save from Ri as the Uzbeks pressed until the final whistle.

North Korea nearly equalised right at the death but Pak's powerful header from a corner was palmed away by Uzbek 'keeper Ignatiy Nesterov.

The result sets back North Korea's hopes of progressing from the group stage for the first time since 1980, when they finished fourth.

But Uzbekistan will have high hopes of reaching the knock-outs for the fourth time in a row, with further Group B games to come against China and Saudi Arabia.

Le Guen rages as South Korea edge Oman

Oman coach Paul Le Guen launched a furious tirade at the referee for not giving a "100 percent" penalty in South Korea's 1-0 Asian Cup win over his side on Saturday.

The Koreans got off to a winning start in their quest for a first Asian Cup trophy in 55 years thanks to a solitary goal from forward Cho Young-Cheol in first-half injury time.

South Korea dominated possession at Canberra Stadium and had several chances to kill the game, but were lucky to take all three points after Oman almost snatched a draw late on.  

Frenchman Le Guen insisted the outcome could have been different if New Zealand official Peter O'Leary had awarded a spot kick when striker Qasim Saeed looked to have been scythed down in the box.

"I don't want to have an advantage — no, no. I ask for equity," he fumed. "It's a 100 percent penalty, no hesitation. But (we didn't get it) because of what? Because we are Oman? It's a very, very bad decision at this level.

"Sometimes you can have a debate, but in this case there is no debate, no discussion. It's a penalty, 100 percent," the former Lyon boss added. "The game could have been different after. If you are 1-0 up it's definitely different."

South Korea were quickest out of the traps and Bayer Leverkusen star Son Heung-Min came closest to opening the scoring after seven minutes when he dinked the ball over Oman goalkeeper Al Habsi, only for it to come back off the crossbar.

Al Habsi pushed away a stinging free-kick five minutes before halftime and it looked as if Oman were going to go into the break level before Cho popped up with his goal.

The Qatar-based marksman broke the deadlock when he reacted quickest to bury a rebound after a parry from Al Habsi, a poacher's goal that delighted a crowd overwhelmingly cheering for the Taeguk Warriors.

Oman were largely on the back foot and their best attempt in the first-half came when Eid Al Farsi curled a free-kick wide.

Le Guen was livid at not being awarded the penalty but when told about his angry rant, South Korea coach Uli Stielike appeared mystified.

Yu strike gives China win over Saudis

Midfielder Yu Hai struck in the 81st minute to give China a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in their Asian Cup opener in Brisbane on Saturday.

A Group B game between two evenly matched sides appeared to be headed for a draw until Yu's free kick from 30 metres out took a wicked deflection and left Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah stranded.

China dominated the first half, but Saudi Arabia improved after the interval and should have taken the lead in the 59th minute after Naif Hazazi was awarded a penalty, but his tame spot kick allowed goalkeeper Wang Dalei to save with his legs.

The Saudis paid for their lack of precision in front of goal, Salem Aldawsari and Mustafa Albassas also squandering good opportunities.
China gradually began to assert control and found space down both wings, Zhang Chengdong particularly dangerous down the right, and he was instrumental in several of China's best moves.  

They were were unlucky not to go into halftime leading, with Wu Xi twice failing to convert just before the break. 

Saudi Arabia, who won the last of their three Asian Cup titles in 1996, emerged with more purpose after the team talk and were by far the more threatening side.

Saeed Almuwallad went close after 56 minutes before Naif's glaring penalty miss.

The Saudis kept attacking and looked the more likely to score, Salem heading straight at Wang, while Omar Howsawi's volley blazed over the crossbar.

But the Chinese, runners-up in 1984 and 2004, defended superbly and caught their opponents with a classic sucker punch, leaving the former champions with little time to mount a response. 

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