2015 AFC Asian Cup: Australia claims first Asian Cup trophy
Santino Honasan on Feb 01, 2015 10:37 AM
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) The Australia Socceroos celebrate their first ever AFC Asian Cup tournament win
In front of a crowd of over 76,000 strong in Sydney, the Australian Men’s National Football team made history last Saturday afternoon by defeating South Korea 2-1 in added extra time to hoist the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Only making their third appearance in the tournament, the Socceroos came close in 2011, making it all the way to the final only to fall to Japan. This year however, they take their place in Asian Cup history.
Massimo Luongo gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about just before the first half as he connected on gutsy goal attempt from outside the penalty box in the 45th minute. Just as it looked like the Aussies were on their way to a win at regulation, Son Heung-min found the equalizer in the first minute of injury time to force an extension and give the Taegeuk Warriors another shot at the title. In the 105th minute, James Troisi capitalized by picking up on a deflected goal and then fired it right back into the net to give Australia a 2-1 lead and ultimately the win.
Not only were the Socceroos able to able to clinch the 2015 Asian Cup title, but they were also able to avenge their group stage loss to South Korea. As a result of their tournament win, Australia qualifies for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
In the third place match held last Friday, the United Arab Emirates defeated Iraq, 3-2, thanks to a brace from Ahmed Kahlil and a game clinching penalty conversion in the 57th minute from tournament leading scorer Ali Mabkhout. Waleed Salem and were the goal scorers for Iraq, at the 28th and 42nd minutes respectively.
The tournament’s MVP honors went to Australia’s Massimo Luongo. Luongo helped lead the Socceroos to the top of the mountain with two made goals as well as a tournament leading four assists. The Golden Boot award went to UAE’s Ali Mabkhout, who found the back of the net five times in the tournament, while Matthew Ryan of Australia walks away with the Golden Glove award, allowing only three made goals against the Socceroos. The Fair Play Award also went to the tournament champions Australia.