SYDNEY (dpa) – Hosts Australia marched on with a 2-0 defeat of China in the Asian Cup quarter-finals Thursday thanks to Tim Cahill’s brace, and Son Heung Min also scored twice in South Korea’s 2-0 extra-time win over Uzbekistan.
After a nervous opening in Brisbane, Australia took control against China but spurned various chances in a goalless first half.
The deadlock was broken when record scorer Cahill sent an acrobatic overhead kick beyond Wang Dalei in the 48th minute. And victory was secured in the 65th minute when Cahill directed an accurate header beyond the reach of the diving Wang.
Australia progress to the semi-finals where they will meet the winner of Friday’s clash between Japan and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
The reward for South Korea, as they chase their first Asian title since 1960, is a match against Iran or Iraq on Monday.
In a game of several chances, neither side could break the deadlock in normal time and Son’s strikes, his first of the competition, in the 104th and 119th minutes made the difference.
The goals were only the fourth and fifth scored by South Korea in the tournament but coach Uli Stielike’s well-drilled side have not conceded in four-and-a-half hours of play.
Neither China or Australia could make an effective start amid a frantic series of opening exchanges. The hosts had more of the ball but had to be wary of the scampering Chinese breaks.
China’s Wu Lei and Australian Jedinak, one of seven changes in Ange Postecoglou’s eleven, both had attempts deflected wide.
The Australians had recalled all three of their first choice attackers in the shape of Mathew Leckie, Cahill and Robbie Kruse, and gradually began to take control.