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Thompson strike not enough for Socceroos

6 December 2012-SBS


Lightning start ... Archie Thompson celebrates his early goal with Robert Cornthwaite (Getty)

Australia and DPR Korea played out a 1-1 draw in a 2013 East Asian Cup qualifier in Hong Kong that left both teams' chances of reaching the finals hanging by a thread.

DPR Korea has seven points from three matches while Australia has four from two games.

 The five-team round-robin group is now expected to be decided on goal difference with Australia's final two matches against Guam, on Friday, and Chinese Taipei, on Sunday, while the Koreans face Hong Kong on Sunday.

The Socceroos, who played poorly against Hong Kong in their first game, made just one change to the starting line-up with Mat Ryan making his debut in goal.

Australia had a dream start when it took the lead after just four minutes.

Holding midfielder Mark Milligan hit the post with a firm header and striker Archie Thompson was first to pounce on the loose ball and slot the ball home from close range.

The Koreans replied with two incursions deep into Australia territory that were dealt with comfortably by debutant goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

The pattern for the rest of the first half was then set with Korea dominating possession and the Socceroos sitting back.

The lively Thompson could have scored again after 32 minutes when he met a low cross from captain Brett Emerton with a diving header that went wide.

Australia started the second half with more purpose but at the other end Ryan had to make a sprawling save to thwart the Koreans.

Soon after a rising shot from Chol sailed over the bar as Korea threatened to repeat its first-half dominance.

Hak in fact put Korea on level terms with a shot on the turn after 64 minutes.

Holger Osieck reacted by bringing on Tomas Rogic for Richard Garcia.

Emerton had a chance to put Australia back in the lead six minutes from time but he hit over the bar from a good position.

Matt McKay got in on the action with a minute left on the clock but misfired and the points were shared.

Socceroos line-up (4-4-2): Mat Ryan; Ivan Franjic, Robert Cornthwaite, Matt Smith, Aziz Behich; Brett Emerton (c), Mark Milligan, Michael Thwaite, Matt McKay; Archie Thompson (Adam Taggart 79'), Richard Garcia (Tomas Rogic 64').

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