Socceroos lose 4-3 to China
The Socceroos ended their East Asian Cup campaign with a 4-3 loss to China on Sunday when a late comeback wasn't enough to snatch victory at Seoul's Olympic Stadium.
China took just four minutes to get on the scoreboard through Yu Dabao before Western Sydney midfielder Aaron Mooy levelled with a 30-metre thunderbolt in the 29th minute.
Sun Ke reinstated China's lead 10 minutes into the second half and a late double from Yang Xu and Wu Lei gave China an unassailable 4-1 advantage.
To complete a frantic finish, Adam Taggart and Mitchell Duke got two back for Australia either side of added time.
The Socceroos were sluggish early, not applying any pressure and letting a composed Chinese outfit get out of their half way too easily.
While the Socceroos managed to work their way into the game, the Chinese still dominated large portions of the match.
Newcastle pair Josh Brillante and Mark Birighitti made their international debuts as coach Holger Osieck made several changes to his line-up.
Tomi Juric, Mitch Nichols, Robert Cornthwaite, Craig Goodwin, Erik Paartalu and Mooy all started.
Connor Pain earned his first cap as a second-half substitute for skipper Matt McKay.
Brillante, who plays in midfield at the Jets, struggled to adapt to the right-back role.
Sun Xiang caught him out of position early, cutting the ball back to the waiting Yu for the cool finish to put China ahead 1-0.
Australia made their first foray into attack in the 20th minute when Juric flicked the ball on to Nichols with gloveman Yang Zhi rushing out to snatch the ball.
Mooy, who'd forced a save from a free-kick moments earlier, beat Yang with his next effort - a long-range screamer to level at 1-1.
Mooy again looked dangerous from range with the dead-ball specialist drawing a save from Yang just before halftime.
The Wanderers young gun continued to look threatening just after the break, playing a superb ball to the on-side Nichols in the box who was unable to get to it.
China went ahead again when Wu cut the ball back for Yu to fire a shot with Birighitti's block going straight to Sun Ke, who made no mistake with the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
A late attack from China resulted in Yang easily getting past the Socceroos' defence for the 3-1 lead in the 86th minute.
Wu, who had tested Birighitti throughout the match, finally get one past the Jets `keeper in the 88th minute to go 4-1 ahead.
Taggart, making his first appearance of the tournament as a late substitute for Nichols, got one back for Australia and Duke then bagged a consolation goal.