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Australia draws with South Korea in Asian Cup

Title contenders Australia and South Korea played to a 1-1 draw in an Asian Cup Group C match today.

sports Updated: Jan 14, 2011 22:01 IST

Title contenders Australia and South Korea played to a 1-1 draw in an Asian Cup Group C match on Friday.

Koo Ja Cheol gave South Korea the lead midway through the first half, but Mile Jedinak headed a second half equalizer for the Socceroos at the Al-Gharafa Stadium.

The result sees Australia top the group with four points on goal difference from South Korea.

Bahrain and India, who have yet to get a point, were due to meet in the other group game later on Friday in the Al-Sadd stadium.

Irrespective of the result in that match, none of the four teams in the group can be assured of advancing to the quarterfinals ahead of their final game.

"It was the kind of game where it did just not click. There were a lot of fouls and it is difficult to play against a team like that. I think we should probably have won today," said Australia forward Tim Cahill, lamenting a rustic opponent.

South Korea's Cha Du Ri said: "We created a lot of chances and if we had converted more of them, we would have won."

Australia warmed up for the match in white T-shirts with an appeal to donate money for victims of the Queensland floods and played in black armbands.

The Socceroos had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the 14th minute after Cha pushed Cahill in the back as the Everton striker was going up for a header.

Much to the delight of the majority of the 15,500 fans in the 22,000 seater stadium, the two-time champions South Korea took the lead in the 24th minute when a long clearance from goalkeeper Jung Sungryong found Ji Dong Won in space and the 19-year-old played a ball across to Koo, who had plenty of time to select his corner.

Australia, who went out in the quarter-finals of their Asian Cup debut four years ago, tried to come back in the first half, but were struggling to break through the compact Korean defence and having difficulty keeping Ji and Koo out of their own penalty area.

Park Ji Sung came close for the South Koreans on the hour when Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was forced to make a spectacular save from the Manchester United midfielder.

The Australians drew level in the 62nd minute when a corner was headed on by Cahill to Luke Wilkshire and he played a clever pass into the middle, where Jedinak outjumped Jung and headed home.

After the equalizer both sides continued going forward in search of the winner, but while Australia were thwarted in their attempts to score with long-range shots, South Korea kept the ball too long in front of their opponents' goal.

They did have one excellent chance, though, five minutes from the break when substitute Yoo Byung Soo played a cheeky lob across the goalmouth to Lee Chung Yong, whose header found Ki Sung Yueng, but Schwarzer pulled off a point-blank save to save his side the point.