Socceroos win Asian cup
BY Lauren Pryor
The Socceroos had fans sitting on the edge of their seats for the final of the Asian Cup against Korea Republic on Saturday 31st of January.
The Socceroos won their first 2 group matches against Kuwait 4-1 and Oman 4-0, which guaranteed their qualification for the knock out stage even though they lost their final group match against Korea Republic 1-0. They went on to play China in the quarter finals and won 2-0, and in the semi-final they beat United Arab Emirates 2-0 and advanced to the finals to play Korea Republic for a second time.
Australia looked likely to win the cup after holding onto the lead for majority of the game, thanks to a 30 metre long range strike from Massimo Luongo in the 45th minute to score what looked likely to be the sole goal for the game. As fatigue was setting in for the second half, coach Ange Postecoglou made some important substitutes for the Socceroos with Tomi Juric and James Troisi coming on to replace Tim Cahill and the injured Robbie Kruse, before fellow Socceroo Ivan Franjic injured his hip and was replaced by Matt McKay in the 74th minute. Although these fresh legs weren’t enough to stop Korean Son Heung Min scoring in the dying minutes of regular time to take the game into extra time.
Amazingly, both teams were able to dig deeper and gain some extra energy to play out another 30 minutes of soccer. Korea had some chances to finish the game off but goalkeeper Mat Ryan did his best to stop any goals from going in. Before long, Juric had two Korean defenders hassling him on the by-line but managed to get the ball through there legs to regain possession and get a cross over with Troisi in the right spot to kick home the winning goal in the 105th minute.
As teams had a quick drink and switched ends to play the second half of extra time, it looked as though each team had a couple more chances to score but neither team converted. Australia ended up winning 2-1, claiming the 2015 FFA Asian Cup, their first Asian title, and qualifying for the 2017 FIFA Confederations cup in Russia.
Image sourced from www.socceroos.com.au