#AFCAsianCup2019 Vietnam 2-0 Yemen

Al Ain: Vietnam kept their hopes of progressing to the Round of 16 of the AFC Asian UAE 2019 alive on Wednesday as Park Hang-seo’s side handed Yemen a 2-0 defeat at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium that ensures a nervous 24-hour wait for the Southeast Asian side.

A trademark free-kick from Nguyen Quang Hai and a second half penalty from captain Que Ngoc Hai earned the Vietnamese all three points, but Park’s side fell short of the three-goal win that would have guaranteed them a place in the next phase of the competition.

Vietnam finished third in Group D and the three points they accumulated from the win over Yemen means they have surpassed the two amassed by Palestine in Group B in the quest for one of the four spots awarded to the best third-placed teams.

However, they now sit behind Kyrgyz Republic on goal difference, meaning the Central Asian side have advanced.

The Vietnamese must now await the outcome of the meetings between Lebanon and DPR Korea in Group E and the Group F encounter between Oman and Turkmenistan before knowing if they will extend their stay in the United Arab Emirates.

Both sides knew a win would give them the opportunity to go through to the next phase and a tense opening 30 minutes saw neither side impress. Indeed, it was a flash of ill-discipline that ultimately cost the Yemenis the opening goal.

Mudir Al Radaei involved himself in a needless altercation with Nguyen Cong Phuong to concede a free-kick, picking up a yellow card from referee Ahmed Abu Baker Al Kaf, and from the resultant free-kick the Vietnamese took the lead.

Quang Hai, so often the architect of much of Vietnam’s positivity, was the man to deliver again, the Hanoi FC midfielder stepping up to send his left-foot strike from 25 yards curling away from Salem Al Harsh and into the top corner of the goal.

With Park’s team needing to win by three clear goals to be certain of securing a place in the Round of 16, the onus was on the Vietnamese to continue to press in the final third of the pitch.


Ten minutes into the half, a slick move started by Do Hung Dung’s angled ball down the right allowed Nguyen Trong Hoang to pull his cross back to Cong Phuong, only for his shot to be blocked by the Yemeni defence. Seconds later, Hung Dung’s shot was collected by Al Harsh.

Yemen continued to present a threat on the break. Ahmed Al Sarori outpaced Doan Van Hau before firing a right foot shot that flew across the face of goal.

Four minutes after the hour mark, though, Vietnam added the second from the penalty spot. Phan Van Duc burst past Abdulaziz Al Gumaei, surging into the box before the Yemeni defender wrestled him to the ground, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Ngoc Hai calmly slid the spot kick home.

Vietnam continued their quest for that vital third goal but ran out of time and now must wait to see if they advance to the Round of 16.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

#AFCAsianCup2019 Kyrgyz Republic 3-1 Philippines

Dubai: A superb hat-trick from Vitalij Lux gave Kyrgyz Republic their first ever AFC Asian Cup win, and a place in the tournament’s knockout stage as the Central Asians defeated the Philippines 3-1 at Rashid Stadium on Wednesday.

Lux scored once in the first half, and twice in the second to seal a historic, and crucial three points for Alexander Krestinin’s side, who finished third in Group C behind Korea Republic and China PR.

While Kyrgyz Republic must wait another 24 hours to discover if they are one of the four third-placed teams to advance to the Round of 16, the Azkals fate has been sealed, with three successive defeats bringing their campaign to an end, although Stephan Shröck did make history by scoring their maiden AFC Asian Cup goal.

While the two sides began the match on the same number of points, Kyrgyz Republic immediately assumed the role of aggressors, keeping the Azkals pinned in their own half and creating a string of scoring chances.

Lux was on the end of two early near-misses, and it was the Germany-based forward who gave the Central Asians the lead their dominance had merited in the 24th minute.

The goal – a sweetly struck side foot effort that flew into the highest reaches of the top corner following Akhlidin Israilov’s low, hard cross – was one to savour, and the first for Lux in national team colours since the Akshumkar beat Myanmar to seal qualification for the Finals.

With Edgar Bernhardt an imperious presence in the Kyrgyz Republic midfield, chances to continued to flow, and Philippines goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard’s regular interventions were a crucial factor in the tally remaining at one.

Bernhardt-inspired moves saw Israilov fire narrowly over the crossbar, and Lux hit the upright, but despite a tally of 15 shots at goal to their opponents’ two, Kyrgyz Republic were unable to add to their lead before the half-time whistle.

The Philippines emerged after the break with their Round of 16 hopes hanging by a thread, and they began to evaporate when Lux buried a wonderful second, turning on a dime and firing the ball into the top corner from Bekzhan Sagynbaev’s pass in the 51st minute.

With time rapidly running out for an unlikely Philippines recovery, Javier Patino forced goalkeeper Kutman Kadyrbekov into an excellent low save, and head coach Sven-Göran Eriksson introduced Phil and James Younghusband into the fray.

Lux looked to have put the contest beyond doubt when he fired home his third, following up Mirlan Murzaev’s woodwork-bound initial effort to finish from close range in the 77th minute, but Shröck gave his side a glimmer of hope when his speculative long-range free-kick crept past a hesitant Kadyrbekov three minutes later.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

#AFCAsianCup2019 Korea Republic 2-0 China PR

Abu Dhabi: Son Heung-min made his first and much-awaited AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 appearance on Wednesday as Korea Republic beat China PR 2-0 to make it three wins from three and claim top spot in Group C.

With both teams already through to the competition’s knockout phase, Son, who arrived in the Emirates earlier this week after being released by Tottenham Hotspur, captained the two-time champions of Asia as goals from Hwang Ui-jo and Kim Min-Jae saw the Taeguk Warriors set up a Round of 16 meeting against one of the best third-placed finishers from either group A, B or F in Dubai next Tuesday.

After succumbing to their first defeat of the tournament, Marcello Lippi’s Chinese side finished second in the group and will now face Thailand in Al Ain on Sunday.

The match started at a frenetic pace, with China goalkeeper Yan Junling reacting smartly to deny Hwang Ui-jo in quick succession and Kim Min-jae heading Son’s corner narrowly wide on eight minutes.

A mere five minutes later, Korea Republic were ahead, the influential Son weaving his way into the Chinese penalty area before being brought down by Shi Ke’s outstretched leg. Hwang Ui-jo duly dispatched the spot-kick with aplomb to hand his side an early lead.

China could – and very possibly should – have drawn level in the 19th minute when Jin Jingdao latched onto Zhao Xuri’s raking pass but proceeded to sky his shot over the bar with only Kim Seung-gyu to beat.

Shortly after that, Hwang Hee-chan’s drilled effort then forced Yan into another fine stop, and in the final noteworthy moment of an absorbing first-half contest, Hwang Ui-jo hit an upright with a wonderful curling effort as Korea Republic’s dominance showed no sign of abating.

Within six minutes of the restart, the Koreans had a second, Kim Min-Jae this time finding the target with a bullet header from another pinpoint Son corner.

Shortly before the hour mark, Jung Woo-young headed Son’s free-kick only just over the bar and then, at the other end, Wu Xi flashed a shot off target when well-placed.

As Son continued to shine until his late substitution, another of his corners resulted in Hwang Hee-chan sending a header agonisingly wide of Yan’s far post to leave the score unchanged and both sides reflecting on their contrasting fortunes ahead of the next round.


Source :AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

The Equation: Socceroos await Round of 16 opponent at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™


The Socceroos are through! Wednesday morning’s (AEDT) thrilling 3-2 win over Syria means Graham Arnold’s men have finished in second spot in Group B. 

Goals for Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis either side of the break, followed by Tom Rogic’s stoppage-time winner made it two wins from three for Australia to move into the knockout phase. Jordan topped the group on seven points following their goalless draw with Palestine.

How things stand

Following the final round of fixtures, the Group B ladder is so:

  1. Jordan – 7 points
  2. Australia – 6 points
  3. Palestine – 2 points
  4. Syria – 1 point

What’s next?

With their Round of 16 berth secured, the Socceroos now await who they will face in the first knockout match.

As runners-up in Group B, Australia will take on the second-place getter in Group F.

That will either be Uzbekistan or Japan, who meet in a shootout for top spot in their group early on Friday morning (AEDT).

If Uzbekistan avoids defeat against the Samurai Blue, the Socceroos will take on Japan in the last 16, but a win by the Japanese would see Australia face the Uzbeks.

In a bonus for Australia, they will play their Round of 16 tie at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, the same venue as the win over Syria.

The Round of 16 clash will be played on Tuesday, January 22 (AEDT), kicking off at 1am.

The Socceroos will take on either Japan or Uzbekistan on Tuesday, January 22 at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium. Kick-off is at 1am AEDT and will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

‘The best is yet to come’ insists goalscorer Mabil as Australia ponders last 16


With four goals in his first seven Socceroos appearances, Awer Mabil is fast becoming a fan-favourite for the national team. But the modest 23-year-old insists that he is just pleased to be a part of a young Australia side that has plenty more to offer.

Mabil played his part in a solid team performance that showed great mental strength after twice seeing its lead pegged back by a determined Syria on Wednesday morning (AEDT).

The FC Midtjylland forward opened the scoring with a tremendous curling effort from outside the box, before further goals from Chris Ikonomidis and a late strike from Tom Rogic secured all three points for the Socceroos.

“This is such a good group to be a part of, a great team,” Mabil said after the victory, which confirmed Australia’s place in the last 16 at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.

“The philosophy suits everybody and brings out the best in everybody. You can see in the last two games that we’re carrying a good momentum. We still have a lot to give.

“Every player loved it. You can see the mental strength that we have today. We can’t wait to face whoever, it’s going to be really good.

“I’m really excited for Australian football. This next four years is going to be amazing with some of the young players we’ve got coming up and also the experienced boys who are here who have 50-plus caps.

“We’re learning from them and they’ll guide us through the next four years. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting journey.”

Mabil opened the scoring with an eye-catching left-footed strike to put Australia ahead shortly before half-time, and dedicated his goal to coach Graham Arnold, who he raced over to celebrate with after his shot hit the net.

“I felt quite confident as soon as I hit it,” Mabil said. “But it went so slow. I’m sure from the outside it went fast, but for me it went so slow – I couldn’t wait for it to hit the back of the net.

“It was really nice, it means a lot. [Graham Arnold] has given me a chance to help my country and it’s a chance I’ll always be thankful for.

View image on Twitter

“I dedicated my first goal to him also [in the friendly v Kuwait in October 2018], but that wasn’t official, so today it was good to get an official goal and dedicate it to him to say thank you for the opportunity.

Awer Mabil and Graham Arnold celebrate Mabil goal v Syria, Asian Cup 2019
Mabil celebrates with Graham Arnold: “It was good to get a goal and dedicate it to him to say thank you”

“There’s always a pride to represent my country, and also be part of this group. It’s credit to the boys, they make it easier for people in the front third to score goals and that’s the fun part. I’m loving that role and it makes it easier for me.

“We stuck to what we know. We know if we do our jobs we are the best and that’s what we have to focus on. It was a great crowd and a great test for us to go into the next stage through these kinds of games.”


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

Social media reacts to the Socceroos’ last-gasp victory over Syria


The Socceroos booked a spot in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ knockout stages on Wednesday morning (AEDT) following a dramatic 3-2 victory over Syria, with the thrilling contest in Al Ain providing plenty of talking points.

Stunning strikes from Awer Mabil and Tom Rogic, plus a second international goal from Chris Ikonomidis and some world-class goalkeeping from Mat Ryan, saw the Socceroos claim all three points. Our Round of 16 opponents – the runners-up from Group F – will be determined when Japan plays Uzbekistan in the early hours of Friday morning (AEDT).

Here’s how social media reacted to Australia’s thrilling win over Syria.

They have seen a lot of great football over at Fox Sports, but even they were impressed with Awer Mabil’s opening hit, while the official AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ account enjoyed the young winger’s subsequent celebrations.

Grabbing much of the attention of observers was goalscorer Mabil, who dedicated his strike to those suffering with mental health issues.

Meanwhile, over in clubland, we saw some very proud responses to players’ performances.

And there was plenty of excitement from the fans after Australia got the result to send them to the knockout phase of the tournament.

The last word goes to Australia’s Commissioner General to Expo 2020 Dubai, Justin McGowan, who sang the praises of the loyal Socceroos’ supporters cheering the team on in the United Arab Emirates.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

‘The crowd was unreal’: Grant praises support as the Socceroos shift focus to knockout stage


Rhyan Grant says the support of Socceroos fans in the UAE and back home in Australia is helping to drive the team forward in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.

The Socceroos secured a 3-2 win in a thrilling contest against Syria on Wednesday morning (AEDT) to move into the knockout rounds.

A draw would have been enough to see Graham Arnold’s side through to the last 16, but a long-range effort from Tom Rogic in the 93rd minute wrapped up all three points in front of a boisterous crowd.

There were roars from the noisy Syrian supporters as Omar Khrbin and Omar Al Shoma pulled back strikes from Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis, but Australia’s players kept their cool to progress to the knockout phase.

“The crowd was unreal,” Grant said. “They were cheering everything [the Syria] players did – it was good to be a part of and witness.

“But, we could still hear our Aussie fans. A lot of the boys had families up there so we still had our backing. It was a great atmosphere and good to come away with a win.

“It was pretty tricky towards the end there, but everyone’s thrilled. Everyone’s happy to get the win and go through.”

Rhyan Grant discusses the Syria clash

The right-sided Sydney FC defender, who has featured in all three Asian Cup games so far, and completed a full 90 minutes in the victories over Palestine and Syria, added that the players can feel the support from far away as well as those in the stadium.

“It’s really easy to celebrate and enjoy it when you’re representing your country,” he said. “Everyone back home is wishing the best for us. To be part of it here, and really be amongst it and be on the pitch when we get to celebrate stuff like that… it’s pretty cool.

“I’ve got a massive family back home. They’re all on a group chat on facebook and I’ve been getting the updates and they’re all watching it live. They all stayed up pretty late to watch the game. Even my nephews tried to stay up. They didn’t last the whole game, but they are all up and supporting, which is really nice to see.”

Grant made his Socceroos debut in the friendly against Lebanon in November 2018, but has quickly become a key member of Graham Arnold’s squad and says he is thrilled by his whirlwind rise.

“[The last few months have been] huge,” the 27-year-old admitted. “I hadn’t played for the Socceroos until a couple of months ago. It’s happened pretty fast, but I’m just enjoying it and embracing every chance I get and trying to make the most it. So far so good.”


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

Socceroos overcome Syria to reach AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ knockout rounds


Needing only a draw to progress from Group B, a dangerous-looking Australia secured all three points from an entertaining affair thanks to Tom Rogic’s thumping strike in the 93rd minute.

Omar Khrbin and Omar Al Soma had earlier erased goals from Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis but Graham Arnold’s men maintained their composure when it mattered most to join Jordan in the next phase.

Syria settled quickly into a match tinged with nerves and might have gone ahead through Khrbin, who dragged a low effort past the far post in the 13th minute.

Jamie Maclaren, a threat throughout an action-packed first half, also passed up an opportunity to break the deadlock when he nodded wide from Rhyan Grant’s excellent cross.

The Hibernian striker then forced Ibrahim Alma into a sharp double save but the goalkeeper was given no chance by Mabil’s brilliant left-footed curler in the 41st minute, the attacker’s fourth international goal his most memorable yet.

Khrbin, though, ensured the celebrations lasted just two minutes, poking home at the second attempt after Mat Ryan parried his initial close-range header.

Arnold rallied his troops at half-time and they were back in the ascendency in the 54th minute as the influential Rogic guided a superb pass to the far post for Ikonomidis to squeeze over the line.

Apostolos Giannou replaced Maclaren with just over 20 minutes and went within inches of extending the margin, taking Mabil’s pass in his path and lashing a fine low shot into the base of the bottom-left post.

Australia were in full control until the referee awarded a penalty which Al Soma converted 10 minutes from time.

That set up a grandstand finish and, having navigated their way through the odd anxious moment, Rogic rewarded a determined display by driving the winner through a crowded penalty area.

The Socceroos’ Round of 16 opponents will be the Group F runner-up, which will be determined when Japan and Uzbekistan square off in the early hours of Friday morning.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE