James Troisi

Chile 1-1 Australia: Chile moves on despite Aussie show

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Australia looked the better side for good stretches of the match, and while it wasn’t enough to earn a semifinal place, the Asian champions will go home with a hard-earned point against a top South American team in Moscow. Had it not been for a pair of ugly misses in front of net, the Australians may have had a chance to advance. Alas, an equalizer by Martin Rodriguez was enough to cancel out Massimo Luongo‘s opener and send Chile through.

With Chile holding all the meaningful possession through the first half-hour, their best chance came in the 27th minute. Alexis Sanchez controlled a long ball from Eugenio Mena and was free on goal. While trying to settle and shoot, he was dispossessed from behind by Mark Milligan who recovered brilliantly. Sanchez went to ground, and after no initial call, VAR took a look and determined there was no reason to award Chile a penalty.

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Australia refused to be intimidated by their opponents’ stature. In the 36th minute, James Troisi lofted a brilliant ball for Luongo who had made a scything run into the box. Luongo slid to redirect the ball on net, only stopped by a charging Claudio Bravo.

That was a harbinger of what would come six minutes later. A shot by Robbie Kruse from just inside the top of the box clipped off a defender as he let loose, and the deflection sent the ball straight to Troisi who was free at the far post. With Bravo closing, the Melbourne Victory attacker looped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net for a shock lead.

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The game opened up from there, and both sides had a chance on net before halftime. Arturo Vidal headed from close range, but it was blocked by a defender out for a corner. Down the other end, somehow three Australia attackers worked free on a failed offside trap, but Trent Sainsbury embarrassingly skied it well over the bar with nobody there to challenge.

After the break, it was more of the same as Australia proved dangerous, forcing Bravo into a number of saves. However, it would be Chile to score next and level the score. Past the half-hour mark, Australia failed to clear, and Eduardo Vargas headed back in front of net where Rodriguez was there to touch it in. Chile nearly took the lead moments later, but Vargas headed just wide after great work by Sanchez.

Australia had another golden opportunity to take back the lead, but when Troisi’s pinpoint ball to the far post found substitute Jamie Maclaren, the Brisbane Roar striker flubbed the huge chance, scuffing his first-time attempt, sending the ball skittering well wide. Chile’s point saw them through into the semifinals, where they take on Portugal. Australia’s two points were not enough to keep them in contention.

Australia beat South Korea in thrilling final to win first-ever Asian Cup title

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Australia rejoiced on Saturday as the Socceroos won their first-ever Asian Cup title by beating South Korea 2-1 after extra time in Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.

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The hosts, who lost to South Korea 1-o in their Group A encounter, went 1-0 up on the stroke of half time as player of the tournament Massimo Luongo finished superbly from the edge of the box. That goal was the first South Korea had conceded throughout the whole tournament, but they equalized in second-half stoppage time to take the game to extra time as Son Hyeung-min blasted home to make it 1-1.

Australia’s hero emerged in the 105th minute as James Troisi tapped home the winning goal following a wonderful piece of skill from Tomi Juric to set up the chance.

Since joining the Asian Confederation in 2006, Australia have their first title as they lost in the final to Japan 1-0 four years ago in Qatar. As for South Korea, they haven’t won the Asian Cup since 1960 and has now lost all of their last four finals.

In front of a packed crowd in Sydney, Australia claimed the title on home soil with Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak lifting the trophy plus veteran Tim Cahill, who is expected to retire from the Socceroos following this tournament, led the celebrations.

Below is a video of the celebrations, as a terrific competitions in Oz came to a close on Saturday.

Asian Cup roundup: Hosts Australia win big in opener after wobble

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The 2015 AFC Asian Cup kicked off in Melbourne on Friday morning, as hosts Australia survived an early scare to beat Kuwait 4-1 in their Group A opener.

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Hussain Fadhel put Kuwait 1-0 up in the eighth minute to shock the home crowd at the Rectangular Stadium, but New York Red Bulls attacker Tim Cahill equalized before Massimo Luongo made it 2-1. After the break the Socceroos settled down as Mile Jedinak slammed home a penalty kick, then James Troisi finsihed off Kuwait in the final minute to make it 4-1.

Australia face Oman in Sydney on Tuesday, while Kuwait will take on South Korea in Canberra in the next round of matches in Group A.

PL player watch: Crystal Palace’s captain Mile Jedinak scored a second half penalty to ease Australia’s nerves. A typically combative display.

MLS player watch: Tim Cahill did it again, as the 35-year-old equalized with a clinical finish before his trademark celebration. Expected to retire from the Socceroos after this tournament, the New York Red Bulls man is off to a flier.

Saturday’s fixtures:

Group A
Midnight ET – South Korea vs. Oman

Group B
2 a.m. ET, Uzbekistan vs. North Korea
3 a.m. ET, Saudi Arabia vs. China PR