Australia beat Palestine to rescue their campaign
DUBAI, January 11: Defending champions Australia dominated Palestine 3-0 on Friday as they recovered from their shock opening defeat at the Asian Cup and moved within sight of the last 16.
Goals from Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil and substitute Apostolos Giannou put the much-improved Socceroos second in Group B with one game to go.
The Aussies will now go into next Tuesday’s final group game against Syria with renewed confidence after banishing memories of their 1-0 upset at the hands of Jordan.
Coach Graham Arnold dropped the under-performing Massimo Luongo and Robbie Kruse in favour of Jackson Irvine and Chris Ikonomidis, who impressed as substitutes against Jordan.
And it was a far more dynamic team that opened their account on 18 minutes, when Celtic’s Tom Rogic picked out Maclaren who scored his first international goal with a glancing header.
Two minutes later and gold-clad Australia were 2-0 up as Ikonomidis lofted a ball to the far post where Mabil sneaked in unmarked for a first-time finish.
Mabil could have doubled his tally before half-time but he skied his shot after a neat move through the middle involving captain Mark Milligan and Maclaren.
But Australia kept up their assault after the break as Palestinian defender Abdallah Jaber knocked an attempted clearance onto his own crossbar and Irvine headed just over.
The attacks kept coming and substitute striker Giannou, a late call-up after Scottish-born Martin Boyle was injured, nodded a deserving third for Australia in the final minute. (AFP)
India lose 0-2 to UAE, still in hunt for knockout berth
ABU DHABI, January 11: India left their scoring boots and luck behind while hosts United Arab Emirates found both after a subdued opener to record a 2-0 win in the AFC Asian Cup here on Thursday.
Khalfan Mubarak (41′) and Ali Ahmed Mabkhout (88′) scored for the home team, entering the game in some desperation after a 1-1 stalemate with Bahrain in the tournament opener.
UAE moved top of the table in Group A with four points from two matches while second-placed India still remained in the hunt for a knockout berth with three points from two outings.
India had drubbed Thailand 4-1 in their opening encounter on Sunday but the Thais got their campaign back on track with a 1-0 win over Bahrain in the evening fixture.
India made a positive start in both the halves and created many chances, but paid dearly for lacking the finishing touch.
The Blue Tigers missed three big chances in the first half and while they created opportunities after the break too, India were denied on two occasions by the framework.
On expected lines, the United Arab Emirates enjoyed possession initially but, to the surprise of many, India had more shots at goal and dominated proceedings by keeping the opposition defence busy.
India need to regroup and win against Bahrain in AFC Asian Cup: Stephen Constantine
Stressing that the Indian men’s football team have the potential to win and enter the knockouts, coach Stephen Constantine on Friday said that the side need to get their act together ahead of their last Group A clash of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup against Baharain. (PTI)