Australia Falls in Extra Time to South Korea in Asian Cup Quarterfinal

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
07/02/2024
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The Socceroos Lose to South Korea in Asian Cup Quarterfinal

Australia was within minutes of a semi-final berth before South Korea tied the match and then won it in stoppage time. 

News Insights

  • Australia’s find the icebreaker before half.
  • Late penalty sees South Korea equalize.
  • Son Heung-Min shines for his country once again.
  • Late red spoils any chance of taking the match to penalties.

Australia has bowed out of the Asian Cup in the quarterfinals for the second time in a row thanks to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of South Korea. The Socceroos had victory on the tip of their fingers but were unable to seal the deal.  

Matchup Largely Believed to be a Toss up 

After the draw for the round of 16 came out, it was quite likely that these two teams would be meeting each other in the quarterfinals. As two of the overall favourites at the tournament, most expected a hard-fought battle.  

That is just what fans got as the match was about as close as they come. South Korea is ranked slightly higher in the FIFA world rankings at 23 whereas the Socceroos are 25th, but the difference is miniscule.  

One clear advantage for South Korea coming in however was captain Son Heung-Min. The Tottenham forward is far and away the best player on either side.  

First Half ends on a Positive Note for Socceroos 

The match belonged to South Korea early, though they weren’t necessarily threatening the Socceroos goal. They South Koreans were content to hold possession and clip the ball around without much forward progress.  
 
They were able to get out wide in the Australian final third a couple times in the opening ten minutes but didn’t offer great crosses.  
 
Australia was finally able to make some quality forward progress in the 17th minute as Connor Metcalfe received the ball outside the box and blasted a shot just wide. Metcalfe would receive a much better chance two minutes later as a rebound bounced to him 10 yards from goal, but he was unable to react on time, sending it wide.  
 
South Korea then reclaimed control of the game with a long spell of possession. Eventually this culminated in a disallowed goal by Hwang Hee-Chan as his teammate was offside in the buildup.  
 
Australia would find the lead in the 42nd minute off the boot of Craig Goodwin who blasted a brilliant volley into the back of the net.  
 
Though they had only 30% of the possession, Australia headed to the locker room 1 nil up. 

Heartbreak Late burns Aussies 

The second half was a back-and-forth affair with the Socceroos again being dominated in possession but defending strong and not allowing that final ball through.  
 
They had a glorious chance at doubling their lead in the 54th minute as Martin Boyle got a clean header at the back post but put it straight at Jo Hyeon-Wu then again was stopped on the rebound before Mitchell Duke put another rebound over the bar.  
 
After that, it was all South Korea as they slowly pushed Australia’s back line deeper. The Socceroos were desperately clearing balls and looked to be on the way to victory until four minutes into added time Lewis Miller recklessly tackled Son in the box and a penalty was awarded.  
 
Hwang Hee-Chan stepped up to the spot and put a perfect penalty into the top left corner.  
 
Extra time was more of the same as the Aussies seemed tired from defending much of the game. It was Son again who proved to be the difference maker as he took a free kick from just outside of the box and curled it around the wall and into the near post corner.  
 
Then, in the dying minutes of the first half of extra time, Aiden O’Neill tackled Hwang with his studs up and was sent off. 
 
Down to ten men, the Socceroos were unable to really threaten the rest of the match as South Korea marched to victory, and the Socceroos bowed out in the quarterfinals for the second straight Asian Cup. 

Leading by a goal five minutes into extra-time it looked as if Australia was primed to hold on. It quickly unravelled with a poor challenge that led to the penalty and then two more reckless tackles that resulted in a free-kick goal and a red card.