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
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
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
Dubai: Australia got their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 title defence up and running, earning three crucial points with a 3-0 win over Palestine in their Group B clash at Rashid Stadium on Friday.
Sunday’s defeat to Jordan seemed a distant memory when goals to Jamie Maclaren and Awer Mabil had the Socceroos 2-0 up within 20 minutes, before substitute Apostolos Giannou added a late third.
The result sees Australia leapfrog Palestine and Syria into second place in the group, with Noureddine Ould Ali’s side dropping to fourth with one Matchday remaining.
An energetic Australia controlled possession and territory from the off, and their new-look attacking trio of Maclaren, Mabil and freshly-promoted Chris Ikonomidis emerged as a regular source of early headaches for the Palestinians.
Maclaren spurned a glorious early chance when he failed to make solid contact after being supplied by Ikonomidis, but he atoned in style with a superbly placed header from Tom Rogic’s cross to score his first international goal and give the holders a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Australia’s first AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 goal had been 108 minutes in the making, but they took just two more to add to their tally, doubling their lead when Mabil found his way in behind the defence to complete the relatively simple task of side-footing home a superb angled pass from the lively Ikonomidis.
With the onus now on Palestine, Ould Ali’s side looked to find a way back into the contest, but it was Australia who looked more likely to add to the scoring; particularly when Mabil was neatly teed up by Maclaren in the dying moments of the first half, only for the winger to blaze his effort high and wide from close range.
Graham Arnold’s men continued their ascendancy into the second half, with an attempted 54th-minute cross from Rhyan catching the woodwork after a heavy deflection off Abdallah Jaber, while Palestine’s Musab Battat added to his growing number of important defensive interventions moments later.
Buoyed by the lion’s share of support from a vocal crowd, Palestine remained competitive but – despite the best efforts of their industrious centre-forward Mahmoud Wadi – a regular lack of bodies in attacking areas meant scoring chances of their own were few and far between.
The Socceroos sealed their win in the 90th minute, with substitute Giannou rising high to head home a pinpoint Ikonomidis cross following an Australian set-piece to cap off a memorable afternoon’s work.
Australia’s win is a significant boost to their hopes of knockout stage football, but they will still need to achieve a positive result against Syria in Al Ain on Tuesday to make sure of it – and will be without defensive lynchpin Trent Sainsbury who was booked for a second successive match.
Palestinians also remain in contention, though they are likely to need all three points from their encounter with in-form Jordan in Abu Dhabi to keep their chances alive.
Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website
Al Ain: Anas Bani Yaseen scored the only goal of the game as Jordan stunned defending champions Australia to kick off the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 with a 1-0 victory over the Socceroos in their Group B opener at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Sunday.
The 30-year-old defender’s first-half header earned Vital Borkelmans’ side all three points against an Australia team that dominated possession throughout the 90 minutes but was unable to find a way past goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
Graham Arnold’s side spent much of the game camped in the Jordanian half, only for the West Asian nation to take a hard-earned win that will set them up perfectly for their next meeting with neighbours Syria on January 11.
While an Australia side boasting the likes of Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo was expected to dominate, it was the Jordanians who had shown a real threat in the final third from early in the game.
Yousef Rawshedh tested Maty Ryan with 10 minutes on the clock while Mousa Suleiman should have done better when he was given time to turn in the area, only to pull his shot across the face of goal.
Those chances had come despite Australia dominating possession, with much of the opening period being played in the Jordanian half of the field.
But the Socceroos struggled to unlock the disciplined backline Vital Borkelmans’ has constructed until Robbie Kruse’s delightful through ball found Awer Mabil in space behind the defence. Mabil’s his first-time shot was kept out when Amer Shafi used his legs.
Australia looked less than assured in defence and after Josh Risdon put the ball out for a corner, Jordan took full advantage. Baha’ Abdelrahman’s corner found Bai Yaseen unmarked 10 yards from goal and he powered his header beyond a flat-footed Ryan.
Minutes later Jordan almost doubled their lead after Trent Sainsbury’s foul on Suleiman provided Abdelrahman the opportunity to go for goal from the edge of the area, only for Ryan to tip the free-kick onto the crossbar.
Graham Arnold’s side continued to dominate as the Jordanians put men behind the ball and sat deep. For all their territorial superiority, though, the Socceroos could not manufacture a way through.
Mabil did find enough space behind the defence early in the second half to be able to drive a low ball across the face of goal that Shafi did well to push to the feet of one of his own defenders, while Rogic’s dipping shot from range was also beaten away by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Bakheet’s trickery and direct running remained a threat to the Australian backline, the UAE-based winger sending his long range drive just off target moments after beating two defenders and seeing the ball shepherded out for a corner.
Australia’s frustrations grew even greater 12 minutes from time when Mabil saw his low drive come back off the base of Shafi’s left upright while substitute Jackson Irvine steered his header wide three minutes later.
The Socceroos continued to push and Shafi was forced into action in the final seconds of the game as Jordan recorded an historic result.
Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website