Brisbane: Australia scrambled an injury-time equaliser to share the spoils with South Korea in a 1-1 draw Saturday between two of the big guns preparing for the Asian Cup in January.
Gamba Osaka striker Hwang Ui-jo gave his team the advantage, coolly burying the ball past Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan after 22 minutes before being stretchered off just before half-time clutching his right knee. But in a game Australia dominated, Massimo Luongo got them their just rewards when he tapped the ball home after Korean keeper Kim Seung-gyu spilt a shot from Tom Rogic deep into stoppage time.
The Socceroos beat the Koreans in the final of the 2015 continental championship and the showdown in Brisbane was their first meeting since then. It was also Australia's first home game under new coach Graham Arnold, who took over after Bert van Marwijk's temporary role in charge during the World Cup in Russia.
He named an attacking line-up with Jamie McLaren up front and they showed their intent immediately, with a hatful of chances in the opening 10 minutes. They were in charge and Huddesfield's Aaron Mooy missed a golden opportunity on the volley after 17 minutes, blasting it over the bar.
But against the run of play, it was the Taeguk Warriors, coached by ex-Portugal manager Paulo Bento, who got on the scoresheet first. A deft long pass exposed the Australian defence with Trent Sainsbury slow to react as Hwang raced onto the ball and powerfully placed it past Ryan.
In a team missing several regulars, including Newcastle's Ki Sung-yeung and Tottenham's Son Heung-min, the goal sparked the visitors into life and they were dangerous when winning the ball in midfield.
GOOOAAALL! Mass Luongo scores a 94th minute equaliser 😎
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 17, 2018
Australia had a goal disallowed for offside early in the second half, Matthew Leckie went close with a header and Ryan pulled off a stunning save from a Ju Se-jong freekick to keep them alive. The intense pressure paid off with the last-gasp equaliser sending the 33,000-strong crowd home happy.
Australia were playing without two of their most experienced players — Tim Cahill and long-time skipper Mile Jedinak, who both recently retired.
Ahead of the game, veteran defender Mark Milligan was named the new Socceroos captain.
Updated Date: Nov 17, 2018 17:37:27 IST