AFC: Australia and South Korea through as expected
In the latest round of 2011 AFC Asian Cup matches being played in Qatar there were no shocks to be had as Australia and South Korea confirmed their status as the two top teams in Group C and progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Australia finished top of the group when defeating Bahrain 1-0 in their final group match which was played today. The match was played in terrible weather conditions, the heavy rain not making it easy for either team to play fluent football, but there were some good moments to be had. The best one came in the 37th minute when Australia’s Mile Jedinak fired home from long range to score the decisive goal which gave the Socceroos all three points. In the other game South Korea were always favourites to dispose of rank outsiders India but the priority was scoring as many as they could in order to leapfrog over the Australians on goal difference. Ji Dong-Won scored the first of his two goals as early as the sixth minute with Koo Ja-Cheol doubling the Koreans’ advantage just three minutes later. Sunil Chhetri managed to pull one back for India in the 12th minute via the penalty spot but when Ji Dong-Won bagged his second goal of the game after 23 minutes many feared that the Koreans’ opponents could be subject to a cricket score but, thankfully for the Indians, only one more followed. Son Heung-Min grabbed his team’s fourth with nine minutes of the match remaining but no further goals meant that South Korea hadn’t done enough to gain top spot.
Australia and South Korea had seven points from three games, the former pipping the latter to first place by virtue of one goal, and they will find out tomorrow upon the completion of Group D who they will face in the next round. Bahrain had three points to show from their efforts in third place whilst India, who qualified for the tournament having won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, found out the hard way that the AFC Asian Cup contains a level of opponent from removed from that which they faced in order to get to Qatar in the first place.