Socceroos and South Korea draw 0-0
Socceroos goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic came to Australia's rescue on Saturday night, almost single-handedly holding a fiercely attacking South Korea to a 0-0 draw in their East Asian Cup clash in Seoul.
Save after save the Adelaide United gloveman made to keep Australia in the match with a steely display of technique and resolve, skilfully diffusing several attacks to keep a cleansheet.
The young Korean side, missing all their European stars, totally dominated play with the backline of Ivan Franjic, Jade North, Ryan McGowan and Matt McKay unable to contain the barrage of strikes.
Central Coast youngster Mitchell Duke made his Socceroos debut but, playing at the point of attack, barely got a touch in what was a very one-sided encounter.
South Korean striker Yun Il-Lok, also making his international debut, proved one of their most dangerous attacking weapons testing Galekovic three times in the opening 18 minutes.
The Korean assault continued moments later, this time it was Lee Seung-Gi who drew another acrobatic save from Galekovic in the 20th minute.
Kim Young-Gwon joined the first-half attack with Galekovic playing the saviour yet again.
Australia had their first chance to get on the scoresheet when Mark Milligan, wearing the captain's armband for the first time, got on the end of a Dario Vidosic free-kick but sent his header wide.
But the action was quickly taken back to the other end of the park with Galekovic thwarting efforts from Kim Dong-Sub and Yun just before the break.
Coach Holger Osieck made the surprising move of substituting Milligan off in favour of Erik Paartalu in the second half.
But while the Australians looked more lively than the opening stanza the well organised Koreans still dictated play.
Australia had a rare shot at goal midway through the half with Vidosic's long-range effort going over the crossbar.
But Galekovic was put to work soon after by Yeoum Ki-Hun who later hit the post with another strike.
Tomi Juric, who recently signed for the Western Sydney Wanderers, came on in the dying minutes in his Socceroos debut.
"We played against a Korean team that played exactly what I expected," Osieck said.
"A young team with a lot of ambition, with great pace, good technique and they definitely put us under pressure."
But the German coach praised Galekovic saying he is well and truly in the mix come next year's World Cup in Brazil.
"The way Galekovic performed today definitely puts him in the frame," he said.
The 32-year-old keeper was pleased to have kept the Koreans scoreless.
"I was obviously happy with how I performed kept a cleansheet, so that was the main thing," he said.
"We weren't great in the first half, we all know that, but in the second half we came out and did a little bit better."