Ange Postecoglou blames pitch for Australia’s Asian Cup defeat to South Korea

Barny 17/01/2015
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Unhappy: Australia boss Postecoglou.

Reaction after Ange Postecoglou's Australia lose 1-0 to Uli Stielike's South Korea in their final Asian Cup Group A match. Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages but South Korea finish first.









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Asian Cup round-up: Oman edges past Kuwait, South Korea stuns Australia

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Abdul Aziz Al-Maqbali celebrates as Oman gets its first win in the Asian Cup since 2004.

Abdul Al Maqbali struck with a second-half header as Oman beat Kuwait 1-0 in a dead rubber at the Asian Cup on Saturday, both teams already having been eliminated.

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– Asian Cup round-up: Japan down Iraq, Jordan defeat Palestine

A scrappy encounter between the Gulf rivals appeared to be meandering towards the tournament's first draw before Al Maqbali pounced with a superb header to break the stalemate in Group A game with only pride at stake.

It was Oman's first victory at the Asian Cup since 2004.

Al Maqbali's goal briefly sparked the game to life and the striker could have snatched a hat-trick inside three minutes, first blazing wide on the volley and then seeing a header cleared off the line.

Faisal Alenezi of Kuwait contests the ball with Raed Saleh of Oman.

Their bags already packed having been beaten by Group A powerhouses Australia and South Korea, both teams were limited to speculative long-range shots in a first half offering very little for a crowd of 7,000 in Newcastle to get excited about.

Abdullah Al Buraiki forced a superb save from Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi before squandering a gilt-edged chance to equalise by nodding over the bar when it appeared easier to score.

Fahed Al Ebrahim smashed wide for 1980 champions Kuwait, who huffed and puffed but with no end product as they failed to break an 11-match winless streak against Oman and finished without a point.

Clinical South Korea stun wasteful Australia

Kim Yong-Gwon of Korea and Kwak Tae-Hwi embrace after winning Australia.

A razor-sharp finish from rookie striker Lee Jeong-Hyeop in the first half gave South Korea a 1-0 win over Australia on Saturday, ensuring they topped their Asian Cup group.

Lee, playing in only his second match for the Taeguk Warriors, struck after 32 minutes to stun the Australians, who had dominated up until then and who created the lion's share of the chances in a blockbuster clash in Brisbane.

The Socceroos should have at least salvaged a draw, but wastefulness in front of goal scuppered their hopes of topping Group A and puts them on a collision course with holders Japan if the teams make the semi-finals.

The hosts now face the tournament's surprise package China in a quarter-final, also in Brisbane, on Thursday, while South Korea will take on either Uzbekistan or Saudi Arabia in Melbourne.

James Troisi (C) of Australia fights for the ball with Han Kyo Won (L), Ki Sung Yueng and Kim Changsoo (R) of South Korea.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou made four changes from the 4-0 win over Oman, opting to leave Tim Cahill and Robbie Kruse on the bench, while his South Korea counterpart Uli Stielike made six to the side that beat Kuwait.

In a match played in stifling heat, humidity and a plague of moths, the Socceroos missed the firepower of Cahill, Austalia's record goal scorer.

Juric blew a great chance before Burns went close in the 70th minute after a mazy run, only for his shot to be tipped onto the bar by Kim Jin-Hyeon.

Postecoglou finally threw on Cahill and Kruse with 20 minutes to go, but it was too little too late and the Koreans held on, the final whistle triggering a chorus of boos from a crowd of 48,000.

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Asian Cup round-up: Japan down Iraq, Aldaradreh slams four past Palestine

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Star man: Keisuke Honda of Japan scores the winning goal during the Asian Cup match against Iraq at Suncorp Stadium.

Keisuke Honda's first-half penalty proved the difference as defending champions Japan downed Iraq 1-0 in their Asian Cup Group D match on Friday.

Honda coolly converted from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute to give the Blue Samurai a well-deserved win in front of almost 23,000 fans at Brisbane Stadium.

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The 1-0 scoreline flattered 2007 winners Iraq, who were under immense pressure throughout and could have conceded a hatful if the Japanese had converted their many chances.

Honda was guilty of a glaring miss when he hit the post in the second half with the goal begging – the third time he hit the woodwork.

Keisuke Honda of Japan and Dhurgham Ismael of Iraq compete for the ball during their match in Brisbane.

However, he managed the decisive kick of the game with his well-taken penalty, when he sent Jalal Hassan the wrong way and rolled the ball into the opposite corner.

Japan will be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals alongside Iraq in their final Group D games against Jordan and Palestine respectively.

Hamza Aldaradreh scored the first hat-trick of the Asian Cup on Friday as Jordan hammered Palestine 5-1 to keep themselves alive in the competition.

Aldaradreh finished with four goals, helping Jordan end a miserable run of 11 games without a win, but their hopes of advancing still hang in the balance with defending champions Japan to come in their final Group D game on Tuesday.

Hamza Aldaradreh of Jordan celebrates his third goal during the Group D Asian Cup football match against Palestine.

Yousef Ahmad scored with a superb curling effort after 33 minutes, before Aldaradreh doubled Jordan's advantage moments later.

The striker grabbed his second in first-half stoppage time to leave Palestine with a mountain to climb and completed his treble with a clinical strike in the 75th minute. Adrenalin pumping, he piled on the misery for Palestine with another goal from point-blank range.

But Palestine carved out a little piece of history for themselves from a pulsating match when Jaka Hbaisha smashed home a consolation goal five minutes from time.

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