Australia claimed their first win in Korea since 1972 when call up Robbie Robbie Cornthwaite came from nowhere to score the winner in the Socceroos international friendly against South Korea on Wedneday.
Cornthwaite wasn’t even in the squad 24 hours prior to the match, but the former A-League defender who has been playing in Korea for the past couple of seasons made the most of his call-up to tap-in the would be winner in the 87th minute.
The Socceroos walked away victorious from a game that featured the two of the top three ranked teams from the Asian Football Confederation even after suffering some last minute injury blows.
Matthew Spiranovic was a late withdrawal, one of three, promoting Cornthwaite to a starting defensive role while young A-League stars Tom Rogic and Aziz Behich and overseas-based Eli Babalj and Mathew Leckie each made their debuts for Australia.
Korea played a fluent game and although they also made a couple of last minute changes to their team, the understanding between players was evident from a squad that consists almost entirely of K-League talent.
Lee-Dong Gook produced the opener 12 minutes in via a volley from a distance of 12 metres as Australia missed a few quality opportunities; namely a Lucas Neill header attempt that was saved by the South Korean keeper.
Just before halftime Nikita Rukavytsya atoned for an earlier miss inside the box by wriggling free enough to slide home an equaliser.
Despite the early setback and some careless passing, coach Holger Osieck was very pleased with the result.
"It was a very good effort to win on the road. I was very surprised how well they did," he said.
"We had a lot of good players. Robbie Cornthwaite was amazing. He did extremely well … they all did well and I saw a lot of very positive elements that give us hope for the future."
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