Australia’s latest East Asian Cup qualifier, played in Hong Kong, against DPR Korea ended in a 1-1 draw Wednesday, meaning the Socceroos chances of qualifying for the next year’s regional tournament have slimmed dramatically.
The Socceroos were gifted the perfect start when Archie Thompson (pictured) collected and goaled a Mark Milligan miss that had ricochet off the side post.
Without veteran Mark Schwarzer in goals, debutant keeper Mat Ryan was put to test soon after, but he handled both North Korean attacks well.
Australian opportunities were limited as North Korea played a possession styled game, but Thompson received another great opportunity courtesy of a Brett Emerton cross, except his header attempt flew wide.
The North Koreans goaled in the 64th minute and a final Emerton chance six minutes from the end sailed over the bar.
Coach Holger Osieck is likely to receive some criticism for the team’s defensive scheme, which makes for pretty boring football when attacking opportunities are so limited. He played a number of defenders in midfield positions and outside of keeper Ryan, started the same 10 that played just 48 hours earlier against Hong Kong.
The five-team qualifying tournament is now likely to be decided on goal difference.
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Video courtesy of BestOfSportHD.
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