2015 AFC Asian Cup: Australia, South Korea advance to Finals
Santino Honasan on Jan 28, 2015 08:35 AM
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) Group A rivals Australia and South Korea meet once again, but this time it's for the Asian Cup trophy
After weeks of intense, high-drama football action, the playing field is down to its final two squads, as host-nation Australia meets South Korea in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Finals this Saturday, January 31 at the Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Finishing as runners-up in Group A, The Socceroos blasted through China in the knockout stage to move into the semifinals, where they squared off against a United Arab Emirates team riding high off their upset win over defending champions Japan.
In the semifinals matchup, Aussie defender Trent Sainsbury got things off quickly for the Socceroos with a third minute header off a corner kick, and then Jason Davidson capitalized on a couple of missed attempts to fire one in from inside the penalty box to make it 2-0. Australia managed to stave off the UAE’s attempts to get back into the match, holding on to claim the win and clinch their second straight Asian Cup Finals appearance.
Revenge will be on the Socceroos’ mind as they attempt to get back a Group A rivals South Korea, the only team to defeat them in the tournament.
South Korea has been dominant in the 2015 Asian Cup so far, defeating all three Group A opponents to finish at the top of the division and advance into the quarterfinals. The Taegeuk Warriors defeated Uzbekistan, 2-0 in added extra time to advance into the semis and face Iraq, another team fresh off a quarterfinals upset win.
A 20th minute header by Lee Jung-hyup from a free kick moved South Korea on step closer to a semifinals berth, while Kim Young-gwon caught a loose ball and blasted it into the back of the net for a 2-0 at the 50th minute. South Korea completed the shutout of Iraq to pick up their fifth straight win and make their sixth Asian Cup finals appearance.
Before the two finalists face off however, semifinalists Iraq and the United Arab Emirates meet to decide who finishes the AFC Asian Cup in third place.
Catch the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Battle for Third between Iraq and UAE on Friday, January 30 at 10:30 pm, and the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Finals between Australia and South Korea on Saturday, January 31 at 11:00 pm on ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel 23!