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Australia down Indonesia to reach Asian Cup finals

3 March 2010 13:25

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) - Australia qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup finals with 1-0 win over plucky Indonesia Wednesday.

The World Cup-bound Socceroos controlled possession for long periods of the lopsided match but had only defender Mark Milligan's 42nd minute goal to show for all their dominance.

Asia's top-ranked nation fielded a largely A-League lineup against the 136th-ranked Indonesians and only needed a draw to go through to next January's showpiece in Qatar.

"I can only be happy with the result, but of course we would have been happier if we had scored more goals," coach Pim Verbeek said.

"I think we tried everything to score more goals, defensively we played concentrated and didn't give anything away, but attacking-wise we know it's difficult to play against a team that's defending with nine players in their own half."

Australia have now lost only once to Indonesia in 15 encounters and have won all their five home games. Indonesia's only win (1-0) over Australia came in a World Cup qualifier in Surabaya in 1981.

The Australians, under Dutch coach Verbeek, have now qualified for both June's World Cup in South Africa and the Asian Cup, where they will be looking to do better than their disappointing quarter-final exit to Japan on penalties at the last tournament in 2007.

"With all respect to Indonesia, this is not the standard of the World Cup, we have to play better but we also have better players," Verbeek said.

With midfielder Jason Culina, leading his country for the first time and always on the ball, the Socceroos had virtually all the play but lacked the cutting edge against the out-of-contention Indonesia.

Australia dominated the opening half, controlling possession and probing for openings, but engineered few definite scoring chances until Milligan's opener three minutes before halftime.

Luke Wilkshire's free kick hit Milligan's shoulder and on to the bar before the Japanese-based defender swivelled and rifled the rebound past goalkeeper Markus Harison for his first international goal.

The Australians almost doubled their advantage in added-on time when defender Simon Colosimo's bullet-header off a corner was tipped over the bar by Markus.

The Indonesians' best chances in the opening half came through Budi Sudarsono, but Eugene Galekovic had a quiet time in the Australian goal.

Japanese-based target man Josh Kennedy had several heading opportunities off crosses from promising 18-year-old debutant Tommy Oar and Dinamo Moscow utility Wilkshire, but was unable to convert any of the chances.

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Info

1 - 0

Competition
Asian Cup Qualification
Date
3 March 2010
Kick-off
10:00
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
Venue
Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane)
Attendance
20422

Goals

1 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

Wednesday 1 October

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