Socceroos Professional Performance Seals Semi Final Win in Asian Cup
January 27, 2015
So the Socceroos final Asian Cup group game defeat against Korea Republic has actually worked out quite well! Let’s face it even before the quarter final against China, fans were already fearing a Semi showdown with our nemesis Japan. Alas it never happened! The Socceroos dispatched China while the United Arab Emirates caused an upset and sent the defending champions packing. A few days later Australia is in the final after a fairly comfortable semi-final nobody saw coming. Still, having witnessed the UAE end the Samurai Blues tournament so abruptly; the hosts were never going to take their opponents lightly. And they didn’t, the Socceroos sealed their passage to the decider with a professional 2 nil win.
Socceroos Sublime Start to Semi Final
The majority of the 21,000 fans at Hunter Stadium were off their seats not long after they’d sat down thanks to Australia’s blistering beginning in Newcastle. With Tim Cahill attracting a fair amount of attention off a Socceroos corner an unmarked Trent Sainsbury headed home the opening goal just 3 minutes into the match. The centre half’s first international goal eased nerves and helped the favourites settle. 11 minutes later and Australia doubled their advantage. Again it was a fullback and another unlikely source. Matthew Leckie’s strike from a blocked Robbie Kruse cross rebounded to left back Jason Davidson who calmly slotted the loose ball home. The UAE paying the price for not clearing their lines. Davidson’s first international goal was the men in yellow’s second shot on target in the game.
Clean Sheet Kept Despite Sloppy Second Half
The home nation took their 2 nil lead into the break but the UAE re-emerged from the sheds with extra energy. Star player Omar Abdulrahman involved himself more, making incisive runs with the ball as well as threatening to score from distance. The underdogs came close on occasions but lacked luck and a killer finish. Had they scored it might have woke Australia up. The Socceroos were sloppy in the second half and lucky not to go unpunished. In truth it appeared they shut down the engines early with one eye on the final. Still Goalkeeper Matt Ryan remained unbeaten for a second consecutive match in yet another positive sign for Ange Postecoglou’s side. Australia who’ve netted 12 goals in the tournament (the most of any team) were now proving tough to break down at the back as well.
While it wasn’t Australia’s best performance, a 2 goal victory, clean sheet and no suspensions ahead of the final is a pretty good day at the office. The UAE have a third place play-off against Iraq to look forward too while the Socceroos will now focus on the final. In truth making it was the minimum expectation before the competition kicked off. Now they’re there they’ll believe they can win it.