#AFCAsianCup2019 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

Awer Mabil : Defeat to Jordan sparked Australia’s resurgence

Awer Mabil-Australia

Al Ain: Awer Mabil admitted Australia’s opening loss against Jordan at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 shook the defending champions into action and inspired Graham Arnold’s side to secure a place in the knockout rounds with subsequent back-to-back victories.

Australia notched up a second win in a row on Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over Syria that took them into the Round of 16 following an earlier victory over Palestine as the Socceroos claimed second place in Group B.

The win over the Syrians in an incident-packed game was sparked by Mabil’s second goal of the tournament and the FC Midtjylland striker said the challenges of a demanding group gave the Australians a jolt ahead of their progress to the next phase of the competition.

“It’s prepared us very well,” he said of the rigours of the group stages. “The first game gave us a reality check and we needed to get things right and we’ve done that in last two games and we just need to continue that for the do-or-die games. There’s a lot to give and it’s very exciting.

“I think the first game, the first 20 minutes especially when they scored first, they just defended for their lives and that made it difficult. We realised we needed to change something and we did that in the last game and we continued today and we’re going to continue that in the next game and continue that momentum.”

Mabil put the Australians in front against Syria with a sumptuous curling strike from outside the area before Omar Khrbin levelled. Chris Ikonomidis put Australia back in front, only for Omar Al Soma to score with a penalty. But Tom Rogic had the last word with a stunning strike from distance to give Australia the win in added time.

“It was quite a battle but we believe we just need to focus,” said Mabil. ‘It was a good crowd, a good atmosphere to play and I think the boys enjoyed the occasion and we were strong in the mental part to not let anything affect us.”

“I think I’ve scored better but I’m really pleased with that. I scored a really good free-kick with the Under-20 team a few years ago but this is a really good moment and I’m going to enjoy it.

“We’re going to go a long way in this tournament, so I think we just need to continue the momentum and not dwell on today. We need to take the positive from today.”

Should Australia reach the final, Mabil has already made plans to fly his mother to the United Arab Emirates for the game as the Australians attempt to win the AFC Asian Cup for a second time in a row.

“I’m planning for the final I’ll fly them over, that’s the plan,” he said. “We’re building a good momentum now, so we’re going to go a long way. I’m very confident in our team. There’s a lot more to give.”

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

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

AUS

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.

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“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

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

AUS

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

#AFCAsianCup2019 Palestine 0-3 Australia

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