Koreans top Group A at Asian Cup as Oman grab consolation win
Lee Jeong-hyeop's first-half goal gave South Korea a 1-0 win over hosts Australia in Brisbane on Saturday and top spot in Group A heading into the 2015 AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals.
Both teams went into the game with six points, and two-time champions South Korea continued a sequence with their third straight 1-0 win. The Australians created opportunities but were held scoreless for the first time in the tournament after posting eight goals and conceding one in their two opening games.
Lee scored in the 33rd minute after a slide rule pass from Korean captain Ki Sung-Yeung.
Veteran forward Tim Cahill started the match on the bench while Socceroos' captain Mile Jedinak, who suffered an ankle injury in the opening game against Kuwait on Jan. 9, wasn't risked.
Bayer Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse had a golden chance to equalise for Australia with five minutes remaining but goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon made a brilliant save.
The result means Australia will play their quarterfinal against Group B leaders China in Brisbane on Thursday, while South Korea will meet the winners of Sunday's Group B match between 2011 semifinalists Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia.
Also on Saturday, Oman secured their first Asian Cup victory in almost 11 years and third place in Group A with a 1-0 victory over Kuwait in Newcastle, north of Sydney.
Abdul al Maqbali scored a 69th minute goal in a game between eliminated teams who'd both lost their opening two matches.
The game between the Gulf rivals appeared to be heading towards the tournament's first draw. That was until al Maqbali produced a powerful header to break the stalemate in Group A game with only pride at stake.
It was Oman's first win at the Asian Cup since the 2004 edition in China.
Oman will end the tournament with three points from three matches with Kuwait on zero. The Kuwaitis also finished bottom of their group, with no points, at the last Asian Cup in 2011, won by Japan.