UAE 1-0 Australia

Al Ain: Australia’s defence of their AFC Asian Cup title came to an end on Friday evening as Ali Mabkhout’s second half goal earned tournament hosts the United Arab Emirates a 1-0 win over the Socceroos and set up a semi-final meeting with Qatar.

Mabkhout took advantage of an under-hit back pass midway through the second half to steal in behind the Australian defence and round Maty Ryan to register the only strike of the game.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s side will now take on Qatar with a place in the final at stake as the hosts moved one step closer to emulating their run to the deciding game when the tournament was last held in the UAE in 1996.

With Tom Rogic unavailable due to suspension, Graham Arnold went for a tactical switch that saw Australia start with Jamie Maclaren and Apostolos Giannou paired together in attack while Robbie Kruse and Chris Ikonomidis patrolled the flanks.

There were changes, too, for the hosts. Ismaeil Mattar made his first start of the tournament alongside Mabkhout as Zaccheroni also introduced Walid Abbas, Fares Juma, Majed Hassan and Mohamed Ahmad as he made five changes to the side that eventually saw off Kyrgyz Republic.

 

Zaccheroni’s alterations were the first to take effect as the Emiratis started brightly. With less than a minute on the clock, Ismail Al Hammadi controlled Ali Hassan’s ball into the area before forcing Ryan to palm the ball clear.

In a lively opening, Trent Sainsbury sent his looping header of Ikonomidis’ corner over the bar as both teams started with few inhibitions.

Ryan was on hand once more to deny the hosts as the clock ticked towards the 20 minute mark when Al Hammadi, again, threatened after stepping inside Sainsbury to fire off an effort that the Socceroos keeper pushed away.

 

Neither side was prepared to sit back in an open and entertaining first half, with Australia taking advantage of the space in midfield to dominate for periods without finding a way through the well-drilled Emirati defence.

With five minutes left in the half the Socceroos did find a way through as Giannou was presented with the time to set his sight on goal, but Khalid Eisa swatted that shot clear. At the other end, Ali Mabkhout missed the chance of the half, heading over from close range.

 

Australia ramped up the pressure in the second period as Degenek and Jackson Irvine both saw their headers from corners miss the target and Ikonomidis dragged his shot just wide. Giannou then had the ball in the net following the introduction of Mathew Leckie for Maclaren, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

There was to be no such intervention, though in the 68th minute when Mabkhout put the UAE ahead with their first opening of the second period, the Al Jazira forward alert enough to step in to intercept Degenek’s backpass before rounding Ryan to score.

 

Australia grew increasingly desperate as the clock ticked down, with Arnold throwing on Awer Mabil and Andrew Nabbout in an attempt to claw back an equaliser but the Socceroos came up short to end their reign as Asian champions and allow the UAE advance.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Australia 0-0 Uzbekistan (After Extra Time, Australia win 4-2 on penalties)

Al Ain: Maty Ryan was the hero for Australia as the defending champions edged through to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on Monday evening with a 4-2 win over Uzbekistan in a penalty shootout.

Ryan kept out spot-kicks from Islom Tukhtakhujaev and Dostonbek Khamdamov to leave Mathew Leckie to score the winning penalty that took Graham Arnold’s side into the next round of the competition.

Neither side had been able to find the back of the net during the previous 120 minutes, leaving Ryan to provide the heroics for his team, who now face the United Arab Emirates – who defeated Kyrgyz Republic 3-2 in their last 16 tie – in the next round.

The win was no less than the Australians deserved in game that saw Arnold recall Trent Sainsbury following his suspension while Hector Cuper’s Uzbekistan team featured five changes from the team that lost 2-0 to Japan, with veteran midfielder Odil Ahmedov among those recalled.

The match started with Eldor Shomurodov’s change of pace leaving Sainsbury flat-footed in the penalty area, only for Ryan to deny the Russia-based striker’s effort when in on the Australian goal.

Two minutes later Aziz Behich tried his luck from outside the area but his low shot caused Ignatiy Nesterov few problems as the Uzbekistan defence successfully kept the Socceroos at arm’s length.

Uzbekistan were shading the battle for control as they successfully stifled Australia’s threat in the final third and threatened on the break. Two minutes before the half hour mark they went close again as Javokhir Sidikov let fly from distance, the ball going narrowly wide of Ryan’s right post.

Uzbekistan’s preferred outlet was through Shomurodov and the 23-year-old carried a constant threat. Nine minutes before the break he cut through the Australian defence again before pulling the ball back and finding Khamdamov with time and space to shoot, but his attempt was woefully off target.

 

As the second half wore on, though, Australia asserted more control. Jamie Maclaren’s blocked shot looped up for Rhyan Grant to head into the hands of Nesterov while the Sydney FC full-back was also on the end of Milos Degenek’s clever diagonal ball, sending his header over the bar from an acute angle.

Leckie’s introduction for Awer Mabil midway through the half gave Australia a boost and the Hertha Berlin winger almost put his side in front when he skipped through the Uzbekistan defence. Nesterov, though, dropped to his right to parry before the ball was hacked clear.

 

Nesterov was again on hand to push away Rogic’s deflected effort 10 minutes from time as Uzbekistan rarely ventured beyond their own half, with only Odil Ahmedov’s mis-hit volley to show for their efforts in the dying moments of normal time.

With the 90 minutes finishing goalless, the game went into extra-time and Australia’s frustration continued as Chris Ikonomidis, Leckie and Rogic all failed to break the deadlock for the defending champions, leaving the game to drift towards a shootout.

Nesterov saved Behich penalty in the second round of the shootout before Tukhtakhujaev was denied by Ryan and, with Khamdamov missing in the penultimate round, Leckie struck to take Australia through.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Australia 3-2 Syria

Australia v Syria - AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - 2

Al Ain: Tom Rogic’s injury time stunner earned Australia a dramatic 3-2 win over Syria and a place in the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.

The Celtic midfielder struck from 25 yards to finally beat a determined Syrian side, who looked set to secure a point for new coach Fajr Ebrahim and his team, and maintain their slim hopes of a place in the next phase.

But Rogic’s goal not only ensured Australia progressed to the next round in second place in Group B but also eliminated the Syrians, who finished bottom of the group after Palestine picked up a point in their meeting with Jordan.

Syria looked set to earn a draw after twice coming from behind to level, with Omar Khrbin cancelling out Awer Mabil’s opener and Omar Al Soma netting from the penalty spot after Chris Ikonomidis had put Australia back in front.

The Syrians, buoyed by the arrival of new coach Ebrahim, had the better of the opening exchanges and, with 12 minutes gone, Al Soma gave Graham Arnold’s team a fright when he headed over. Just seconds later Khrbin shot across the face of goal after a poor clearance by Mat Ryan ended up at the feet of the former AFC Player of the Year.

Australia were struggling to deal with the intensity of the Syrians and, on the half-hour mark, Embrahim’s team thought they had taken the lead when Mouaiad Al Ajaan’s free-kick from distance found its way past Ryan, only for referee Cesar Ramos to rule it out for a foul on Mark Milligan in the build-up.

That let-off gave the Australians a boost, Ikonomidis finding the hands of Ibrahim Alma with his long range attempt before the Syrian keeper twice denied Jamie Maclaren. Mabil, meanwhile, saw his effort blocked by the defence.

In the 41st minute, though, Mabil ensured the Australian pressure paid off with a perfect curling left foot strike that gave Alma no chance as the ball arced its way inside the keeper’s right post.

The lead was to last less than two minutes, however, as Al Ajaan seared down the left flank beyond Rhyan Grant and sent in a cross that Khrbin headed goalward. Ryan made the initial save, but Khrbin converted the rebound.

Nine minutes after the restart, though, Australia were back in front.

Rogic’s sweeping ball from the left slid past Hussein Al Jwayed to land at the feet of Ikonomidis, who steered his effort over the line despite a despairing dive from Omro Al Midani. The Syrian defence thought Al Midani had kept the ball from crossing the line, but referee Cesar Ramos awarded the goal to the Socceroos.

Substitute Giannou Apostolos then hit the post 15 minutes from time as the Socceroos sought to kill the game, and five minutes later Syria were level after referee Ramos pointed to the spot and Al Soma converted.

The points looked destined to be shared until Rogic intervened three minutes into added time with a superb strike, beating Alam to his left with a blistering effort from distance.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE