AFC U23: Victories for Australia, South Korea

File Photo : Asian Football Confederation
IANS|11-Jan-2018 21:21

Kunshan (China), Jan 11 : George Blackwood scored the first and last goals to help Australia beat Syria 3-1, while South Korea rallied from one goal down to beat Vietnam in Group D of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under 23 Championship here on Thursday.

In the eighth minute, forward Blackwood opened the account for the Aussies on a Daniel da Silva pass, and ensured the victory with his second goal in the 77th minute, reports Xinhua news agency.

In between, forward Bruce Kamau netted his header in the 43rd minute to give Australia a two-goal advantage, while Thomas Deng kept Syria alive with an own goal eight minutes into the second half.

The Australians were dominant throughout the game in the afternoon while Syria presented occasional threats.

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Ante Milicic, the Australia head coach, said: "This young group of ours will gain a lot of confidence and leading into that was winning the game against a very difficult opponent. We showed them a lot of respect, it's an opponent that a lot of our boys are not used to playing against. They were very aggressive and direct at times, so it was a good challenge for us and I'm delighted."

Syrian head coach Hussain Afash commented: "We made a lot of mistakes in this game, especially in the first half, and in the second half we tried to be better and we were able to stop the Australian team from building their attacks against us. The Australian team seemed to be better prepared than us. We didn't play any friendly games and we have to congratulate them."

In another game, South Korea rallied from one goal down to beat Vietnam 2-1.

Nguyen Quan Hai gave Vietnam a surprise lead in the 17th minute, but goals from Cho Yong-wook in the 29th minute and Lee Keun-ho in the 73rd minute ensured the 2016 finalists to turn the table for three full points.